Checking Account Promotions–A Good Way to Get Ahead

by Mr. Checking

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What is a Checking Account Promotion?
Checking account promotions are special deals given by banks for opening a checking account with them. The most common of these offers cash for opening and keeping a checking account with their bank. Others will offer great prizes, such as iPods, iPod Touches, new phones, or more. Some banks offer more traditional prizes, such as airline miles or credit card points—especially if you have a credit card through them. One great advantage to opening your checking account with a bank running a promotion is that you can typically get an account with free checking and no bank fees. With some research, you may even be able to find a bank that offers a higher return on your checking account interest than most others. You can research checking account promotions easily on the Internet, and should be sure to see what is available to you. With a little careful planning, you can get quite a bit of money, prizes, or good banking fees when you open a checking account while the bank is running a promotion. You also should be careful to check up on any particular deals for your lifestyle: student deals, senior deals, and more.

Who Can Get Them?
Usually the checking account promotion is for people who are new customers to the bank, but it can vary. Some banks offer promotions to those who have credit cards, savings accounts, or CDs with the bank, but still don’t have a checking account. In this case, the bank is focused more on building customer loyalty and increasing your ties to them, rather than getting new customers.

Read the Fine Print!
However, no matter how great the deal looks for the checking account, you must be certain to read the fine print. Often deals have several caveats that can actually end up costing you more than you would have earned or saved otherwise. Many checking account promotions require a certain amount of money be left in the account. Others require direct deposit, sometimes of a certain minimum amount, be set up. Some require a basic number of transactions each month. If you do not fit the necessary requirements, the checking promotion will not help you. In the best-case scenario, you will not receive the promotional item. In the worst case, you may end up paying serious fines for not reading the fine print. Also, you do have to pay taxes on these gifts usually. But not always—it depends on the bank, as well as the value of the gift itself. Also check to see if there are more special requirements for the promotion—do you have to be an old customer at the bank? Is it only open to new customers? What is you have other accounts, but not checking account? You need to know exactly how this promotion works, before you get into switching or opening an account with the bank.

Decide if it is Right for You
You also will want to be certain to look at how you spend money. If you have heavy overdraft fees, it may be worth finding a bank with lower overdraft fees, or overdraft protection. If you have to sign up for many bank services to earn the promotion, it may be more monetarily sound to stay where you are, or open a checking account at a different bank.

Check the Dates
When you are looking at promotions, you also will want to check two dates: the one when the promotion expires, and the one when the benefits you receive expire. If the bank was giving you low interest rates, high interest income, and free checking—make sure you know when they end. You don’t want to be blindsided with sudden fees or high costs because your promotion ended and you didn’t realize it. Reading the fine print also makes sure you understand that you may not see your prize right away. Sometimes it can take several months before your cash or iPod makes it to you.

How to Open a Checking Account During a Promotion
When you do decide to go for it—you have done your research and are hoping to participate in the promotion—ayou can utilize the online resources to find the promotion that fits your needs and lifestyle best. You can even usually open your account online, unless you have special circumstances, in which case the bank will call you to come in to their office. You probably will want to choose a bank you know well, with plenty of offices or ATMs nearby. Also, although it is possible to open an account online, I would recommend going to talk to someone in the office. Often they are allowed to change the details of the promotion to make the sale with you. You may even be able to get a better promotion by talking to someone in person; just be sure they put it in your file or account notes!

Because checking account promotions have become so popular and common, it is really sort of silly to open an account without at least checking to see if you are interested in any of the available promotions. Do your research before you sign your money over with a bank, and you will come out on top.

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