Bank account bonuses can be quite lucrative. Many banks will offer $100-$300 or more just for opening a new bank account and completing a few requirements. But, many bank account promotions require you to complete one or more direct deposits into the account in order to earn the bonus – which can be a hassle. Let’s look at some easy ways to complete direct deposit requirements for bank account promotions.
Things to Know
- Many bonuses require multiple direct deposits within a certain time frame. They can come from the same source.
- Sometimes there will be a minimum amount to trigger the bonus (i.e. a $500 direct deposit will work, but $50 will not).
- Each bank operates differently. Methods that work for one bank won’t necessarily work for another.
- Terms usually state that only employer/government payments are qualifying direct deposits. These terms are rarely enforced.
- Methods change often. Always have a backup plan in case something doesn’t work.
- Check for recent datapoints for the bank you’re looking at to see what works and what doesn’t.
While you are supposed to only use direct deposits from employers, oftentimes you can trigger the bonus without a “legit” direct deposit. Here are some ideas:
Here’s the obvious one: get your paycheck set up to direct deposit into your new account. Depending on your employer, this could be a 5 minute thing or it could be quite a hassle. You can also switch your social security or pension payments to your new account to trigger the bank bonus. This is the only “legit” way to complete the requirements, and is almost guaranteed to trigger the bonus requirement (and if it doesn’t, you can contact support to have it manually applied).
In many cases, transferring money from an existing brokerage account to your new checking account will count as a direct deposit. There are existing datapoints for transfers from Fidelity, eTrade, Charles Schwab and many other major online brokerages.
ACH Transfers from Other Banks
Transferring your own funds to your new account, via an ACH transfer from an existing account, may also work to satisfy a direct deposit requirement.
PayPal & Similar Services
Online payment processors like PayPal may also come in handy. If you withdraw funds from a PayPal account to your new checking account, the ACH transfer may trigger the bonus requirements.
Payments from various “side hustles” like Uber, Lyft, AirBNB, Upwork, etc. may trigger bank bonus direct deposit requirements. Most of these payments are made as ACH transfers, but they may code differently than a transfer from your own bank account.
Come tax time, if you are due a refund, that payment may trigger the direct deposit requirement. Even if it doesn’t automatically, you should be able to get it manually applied. A tax refund is a government payment, which is usually explicitly included in the terms and conditions as a valid direct deposit.
Shopping Portal Payouts
Payments from shopping portals such as TopCashBack, ShopAtHome, eBates, etc. sometimes work to trigger the direct deposit bonus requirement. Of course for this to work you’ll have to have already earned some cash back – and this will likely only be useful if the requirement doesn’t include a high dollar amount.
Choose Bank Promotions Without Direct Deposit
Not all bank promos require a direct deposit. While most checking account bonuses do, most savings account bonuses do not. Oftentimes checking accounts have the biggest payouts, but if meeting direct deposit requirements becomes a hassle, you can always opt for savings bonuses.
Stay On Your Toes
It used to be really easy to complete direct deposit for a bank bonus with just a simple ACH transfer from your own bank, or a person-to-person payment from a buddy. Recently, many banks have been cracking down and making it more difficult to trigger bonus requirements. Chase in particular has stopped counting anything that codes as person-to-person (P2P), such as most ACH transfers, PayPal/Venmo, etc.
Thus, it’s important to stay current with what is and isn’t working. It’s also vital to have a backup plan in case your initial attempt doesn’t work. The last thing you want is to not meet the requirements in time and miss out on the bonus!
We also recommend starting early. As soon as you sign up for the account, immediately test a direct deposit with the method of your choice. Check the terms of the offer to see when the bonus will be credited. You may get the bonus soon after your direct deposit posts, or you may have to wait X number of days. If you’re curious whether the method worked for the direct deposit, you could potentially contact the bank and ask if you’ve met the requirements for the bonus.