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Over the summer, Chase Bank sent me an offer in the mail to open a checking account with them. The sweetener? $150 cash bonus, just for opening the account. Any strings attached? Sure, but they were relatively easy to cut.
Chase is not a military friendly bank that offers no-BS fees. Their checking account comes with a lot of “gotchas” and I definitely DO NOT recommend banking with them day to day. However, a free $150 is hard to turn down. What were the stipulations?
- $100 minimum deposit
- If account closed within 6 months bonus withdrawn
- $12 per month “service charge” (this is the BS part)
The $12 per month service charge could be avoided if:
- You have monthly direct deposits of $500 of more
- OR you keep an average daily balance of $1500 or more
- OR you have an average daily balance of $5000 or more in other Chase checking or savings accounts
A good bank does not have account minimums or charge any fees for normal daily usage of the accounts to their customers. Therefore, I was not interested in keeping this account past the minimum required time.
I decided to look at opening this checking account as an investment. If I deposited $1500 into the account for 6 months, I would be rewarded with $150. I could then close the account, withdraw my $1650, and gain a 20% annual return on investment. Not bad!
I deposited my $1500 in June 2013. The $150 bonus was paid within a week of opening the account. Since then, I’ve done no transfers in the account except yesterday (3 January 2014) when I withdrew the full $1650. I sent a secure message to Chase to close the account and I’m just waiting now for their confirmation.
In total, about 15 minutes of work for a very nice return. While it’s not going to change my life, it’s still nice to put cash to work for a FDIC backed 20% return.
Getting an FDIC insured return above 1-2% is difficult these days. However, if you look for opportunities (like the SDP or account opening bonuses) to maximize your risk free return, you can realize a greater return on your emergency fund and cash assets. Increasing your return on your cash will put you that much closer to achieving your financial goals, whatever they may be.