$150 for an Hour’s Work

open_a_checking_accountOpen a checking account at our bank and  get a $150 bonus.  So, what’s the catch?  What does it say in the fine print?  Is it worth it?

Yes, it might be worth the time it takes to open a checking account you don’t need, collect the bonus, and then close it later.  It will take some effort, probably over the course of several months, but altogether it shouldn’t total more than an hour of actual work, so $150 is a pretty good wage for that amount of time.

I heard an ad on the radio:  Open a checking account.  Get $150.

Here’s what I had to do.

Go to the new bank’s website.  Fill out some forms with my name and other information.  Print and sign a signature card and mail it to the bank.  Make an initial deposit by linking the new account, which required allowing the new bank to make a couple small deposits (a few cents each) into my existing account at my credit union and then logging into the new bank’s website and entering the amount of the deposits to verify the accounts were linked.  This took about 20 minutes over the course of a few days.

Using my employer’s intranet, I allocated a portion of my paycheck to be deposited into the new account.  To avoid a monthly fee (which would add up to a significant chunk out of the bonus I was trying to get), at least one direct deposit must be made into the new account each month.  That took another 10 minutes.

Then back to the new bank’s website.  I don’t really want to keep any of my money in the new account.  I first thought I would just transfer the money from the required direct deposit that went into the new account into my checking account at my credit union, but I discovered that there’s a fee to do this.  However (for some weird reason), there’s no fee to pay bills from my account via the new bank’s website.  So I set up a monthly transfer to the gas utility company to pay my monthly gas bill.  Another 10 minutes.

I get paid and log onto the new bank’s website to ensure my direct deposit arrived in my account.  It’s there.  I get the $150 bonus.  That goes towards the gas bill.  10 minutes.

I look into closing the new account and discover that there’s a $50 account-closing fee if the account is closed within the first 6 months after it was opened.  No problem.  I can wait.  For the next 6 months, $50 from every paycheck will continue to be direct-deposited into the new account and then will go towards the gas bill.  10 minutes.

So there you have it.  $150 earned for about an hour’s work.  I probably wouldn’t have done it if I couldn’t have done it all online.  If my employer required me to visit the HR department to set up a separate direct deposit, then I probably wouldn’t have done it.  This worked so well, I am thinking of doing it again with another bank.  Next time, I will probably set up a direct deposit that will be enough money to pay the mortgage and then use the new account to make the mortgage payment.

Bottom line:  Before you open an account for the bonus, find out

  • what’s required to get the bonus and to avoid fees (minimum balance, direct deposit, etc.)
  • if there are fees to transfer money out of the account and how they can be avoided
  • how long the account must be open to avoid an account closing fee.

 

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