1. jc says

    If I’m reading right, $1500 isn’t required to do this. There is no minimum to open the basic account and if you do the direct deposit and the bill pay, there is no monthly fee regardless of balance. So, you could do this for $0 plus the transfer in/out each month. I don’t think I’d take it quite to that extreme, but leaving $100 in this account to make $50/year and the other $1400 earning 1% elsewhere sounds reasonable.

  2. Harry says

    jc – You are correct. Technically the $1,500 isn’t required. However, the $1,500 will guarantee you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee. My first priority would be do no harm — even if for whatever reason I’m not getting the reward points, I don’t want to end up paying a monthly fee. After it’s all up and running, you can withdraw it down to $100. The $1,500 serves as a cheap insurance policy before you get the reward points.

  3. Harry @ PF Pro says

    Checking and savings account bonuses are usually taxed, so hack off 30-45% right there 🙂

    Credit card bonuses on the other hand are not, that’s why they are so much more valuable and they offer a lot more.

  4. David C says

    Just a word of warning regarding Chase, I’m reading conflicting information that suggests that they are no longer accepting some bank ACH pushes as direct deposits… at least for the 1st direct deposit necessary for the $200 bonus. It sounds like Ally still works, but ING Direct and Alliant doesn’t anymore… if you trust random strangers on the Internet 🙂

    @ [email protected] Pro
    Slight correction, credit card opening bonuses that you receive just for opening the account (and doing nothing else) ARE taxable. Credit card opening bonuses that require a certain amount of spending are not taxable as the IRS lumps them along with credit card rewards earned while spending: they are considered to be discounts on purchases and thus not income.

  5. Harry says

    David C – Thanks. I’m watching that thread with amusement, as people try to figure out what works and what doesn’t with no rhyme or reason. My current theory is that if the originator uses prenote, it will work because most payroll direct deposits use prenote as opposed to random deposits. Fidelity uses prenote.

  6. Harry @ PF Pro says

    @David C – Ah ok that makes sense now, thanks for that tip! I see now why they have the spending req’s or they give you the bonus after the first purchase.

  7. Harry says

    I added a savings account at Citibank and I scheduled a recurring monthly transfer of $10 from checking to savings. This will give me additional 175 reward points per month bringing the ongoing value for the checking/savings combo to $72 a year. Not counting the initial bonus, it’s a 4.8% yield ongoing if I keep the $1,500 in the accounts, more if I only leave $100 in each.

  8. Jules says

    Harry, thanks for mentioning this. I was considering signing up for this account based on your recommendation. But then I thought about my experience redeeming ThankYou points. You probably know Citi has different terms for how you can redeem ThankYou points, depending on which accounts you have with them. For example, I just logged into my account at Citi, hit the ThankYou Rewards button, searched for Amazon, and found the only possible denominations to redeem are: 3500 points = $25 Amazon gift card and 6000 points = $50 gift card. The $100 Amazon gift card was not available. Perhaps if I added a bank account, the $100 = 10000 points option would suddenly appear. It’s not clear.

    But I’m not going to find out. Am sadly about to cancel both of my Citi credit cards and terminate my relationship with them, as I just found that I can no longer ethically do business with them. I just learned that Citi is a supporter of Shariah-compliant banking, which requires Citi to donate 2% of profits to dubious “charities”. If you’ve ever seen movies like The Stoning of Soraya M., or read books like Not Without My Daughter, you know how horribly women are treated under Shariah law. I cannot and will not support this.

    Keep up the great work discovering, thinking, and writing about finance. I will continue reading as usual.

  9. Harry says

    Jules – I will post the options available to me when I receive the reward points. I understand your philosophical objection to certain business practices. There’s a big market for Islamic finance. I don’t blame them for wanting to be in that market. A former colleague of mine is a Muslim. He couldn’t borrow money for a home. He had to use a compliant institution.

  10. Jake says

    Hey here’s a blog post idea. Compile a list of accounts offering cash/points for opening a new account. I’ve come across various ones online but would like a list of ones to get.

    I think this is a good “investment” idea. Open accounts with no account fees that pay you for the banking relationship and then once the money is made either use them or close them.

    • Harry Sit says

      Thank you for the heads up. I will close my accounts after I get the points in December. Those who have a mortgage with Citibank still get The Citibank package for free, although they too will be earning fewer ThankYou points.

  11. Elizabeth says

    Harry, what do you think of ELFCU hi interest checking 4% for the first $1000. what is to stop you from having joint accts or single accounts if you are married. I can easily think of 10 accounts to open.

    • Harry Sit says

      Just first $1,000 is way too low. It requires 15 transactions per statement cycle. You will need 150 transactions per statement cycle if you open 10 accounts.

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