Free Money For Opening a Checking Account; Is it Worth it?

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Chase Bank recently sent me a flyer that read, “Bring this card to a Chase branch and get $125 when you open a new Chase Checking account and make five debit purchases.”

Well this sounds too good to be true, and as the old adage goes, “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.” So, I hesitated to jump on this great offer. There must be a catch right? It’s time to read the fine print.

Here is what you need to do to qualify for the $125:

– Must open the account with at least $100

– Within 60 days, you must have 5 debit card purchases or have a direct deposit set up on the
account by your employer or the government

– You must not be a current Chase customer

– You must keep the account open for 6 months or the $125 will be deducted from your account upon it’s close

Other notes:

– You will be taxed on the gift of $125 when filing your year-end taxes (will come in the form of a 1099)

– Debit cards may have a $25 annual fee (the fine print says talk to a banker for details)

– There will be a monthly service fee if you do not have 5 debit card transactions per month or have direct deposit set up

The fine print was actually not as bad as I initially anticipated, but because of all the strict regulations, I would advise against trying to make a quick buck from these offers. In other words, if you are going to try to play their game and only have the account active for 6 months, you will most likely lose. But, if you like the bank that is running the promotion and you want to do business with them long-term, then I would say go for it! We all like direct deposit, and we all use our debit card. So, chances are that we will never incur those random fees that we read about in the fine print.

The bank I am currently with has been exceptional, and I have never had an issue. For this reason, I am not looking for another bank and will forfeit the $125 promotion. Plus, in the back of my mind, I can’t help but wonder, ‘If a bank is offering to pay me for my deposit, how reliable can the services really be?’ I would be checking my account constantly, looking for nearly-hidden bank fees and unexplained transactions.

Have any of you jumped on these promotions? How did it work out for you?

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