I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! It was absolutely gorgeous here, a great start to spring! :)
Ever since I moved, I’ve been getting the occasional offer to open a Chase checking account and get a free $125. That’s not a bad deal, but I was reasonably busy with moving, settling in, etc. and I didn’t have the energy to sort out the fine print, so I felt it was better to ignore it. I missed one offer back in December/January and then a couple weeks ago, I got one via email for a $200 bonus! So of course I jumped on that pretty quickly.
Some details on the deal:
- I have 60 calendar days to deposit at least $100 and then the bonus will be deposited within 10 business days.
- Offer has an expiration date.
- Offer is not available to those with existing Chase checking accounts.
- Offer is not available to those who closed a Chase checking account within the last 90 days or if you closed your last Chase checking account with a negative balance.
- The account to be opened is a Chase Total Checking account.
- One can only receive one checking account-related bonus per calendar year.
- Bonus is considered interest.
- The account must be kept open for six months or the bonus will be lost.
The catch? The account has fees, unless you follow their rules, which is exactly why I left banks for credit unions several years ago. Here are the options to avoid the monthly service fee:
- Receive a direct deposit of $500 or more in the checking account.
- Have a daily balance of $5,000 or more across your Chase checking, savings, and other accounts.
- Have a daily balance of $1,500 or more in the checking account.
The direct deposit one is annoying since I have my cash flow set up nicely, so Option #1 is out. I am perfectly happy with my current savings accounts structure and Chase has even lousier savings account rates than my online bank does, so Option #2 is out.
That leaves Option #3, which makes this entire thing like locking $1,500 up in a 6-month CD with an early withdrawal penalty of 100% of the interest earnings. How much would I earn on $1,500 with Ally in six months? About $7, assuming that their interest rates don’t go any lower. So $200 is $193 more in those 6 months than I would otherwise get and then I can close the account and transfer the money back to my online bank.
I was trying to decide what to do with the extra $200 and came up with a few options:
- Make a principal only payment on the mortgage.
- Leave it in the Chase checking account until I close it out.
- Transfer it to my online savings account.
I ended up going with option #3 because if I had left the money in my online savings account, it would have been earning interest which I would have left there. I was a bit of a dumbo and transferred the $200 to my online savings account on the last business day in March, which means my March net worth update doesn’t reflect the $200 bonus since the money is off in the space between banks until April 1st.
Readers, what have you done lately to get a bit more yield out of your savings?