Almost everywhere I look, banks are offering bonuses for opening checking accounts and savings accounts, usually with very few restrictions (Usually either using a debit card OR enrolling in direct deposit). With banks offering $50, or in a recent mailing I saw, $200 to sign up, why not sign up for an extra checking account (or 3)? It only takes a few minutes to sign up and it sure beats actually working for your money, right?
A Closer Look
The advantages are clear: You get extra money to spend on anything you want: Paying off debt, going out, boosting savings or retirement, or maybe some fun vacations. Unlike with credit card rewards, opening checking and savings accounts typically don’t affect your credit rating (although some companies do hard credit inquiries), so you can have as many accounts as you like without any consequences.
The disadvantages are a little less obvious. The major disadvantage would have to be the time committed to opening the account. Being able to sign up online takes no more than 10 minutes, and for $100, you’re time is definitely worth that much. But what about having to remember to use your new debit card at least three times in the first month? Or giving your employer a new direct deposit form? Is it worth the hassle?
The direct deposit route is a little too much of a hassle because when you have your primary checking account sending out payments automatically, be it for rent or monthly bills or savings and retirement accounts. Unless you’re ready to commit to a new bank full time, it’s best not to mess with the careful balance you’ve set up, and there’s no sense in risking an overdraft fee.
For some people, $100 every month or two is insignificant, while for other it represents a big bonus they can use to get ahead. For someone who is able to save $800, an extra $100 per month represents an additional 12.5% in take home income! And of course, this new money comes with no risk, so it’s a great investment to make!
For the relatively low time commitment and the sometimes large bonuses, isn’t there something you’d like to save for? Or is it too much of a hassle to keep track of yet another card in your wallet?