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avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Stephanie Colestock. Stephanie is the managing editor at shizennougyou, as well as a contributing writer. She graduated from Baylor University with a Biology degree, but has since found a passion for personal finance. She also writes for a number of other sites -- including Dough Roller, Five Cent Nickel, and allCards -- in addition to running her small business, Pink Orchid Press. Stephanie lives in Washington, DC with her two sons and a German Shepherd.

Stephanie Colestock

CIT Bank bonus offers can be very rewarding. We track these bonuses and CIT rates, which currently are the best you’ll find for an online savings account.

cit bank review and cit bank bonus

Everybody needs a safe place to tuck away their emergency fund or vacation savings. A high yield savings account is a great option. Considering that the average savings accounts earn a measly 0.06%, however, you’ll want to make sure to find the absolute highest rate that you can.

This is where CIT Bank comes in. You may not have even heard of them before. The small bank was founded in 2009. However, they are hanging with the likes of GS Bank and Ally by offering an excellent online savings account rate of 1.35%. Tack on a great set of returns on their CD products and CIT ranks as one of our favorite online banks.

CIT Online Savings Account

CIT Bank’s high-yield online savings account offer competitive perks, including the obvious–a great APY–as well as $0 maintenance fees on your account.

CIT currently offers a 1.35% APY for all bank balances under $250,000. Beyond $250,000, the APY decreases slightly to 1.30%. The minimum deposit required to open a CIT online savings account is only $100 and there are no account minimums to maintain.

To be clear about the APY, the rate you receive depends on your total balance. If you have $100,000 in your savings account, you’ll receive the 1.35% rate. If you have $300,000 in your account, you’ll receive the 1.30% rate. You will not receive the higher rate for the first $250,000 in your online savings account–the APY is for your full account balance, not any partial amount.

CIT Certificates of Deposit (CD’s)

CIT not only provides a great rate on their high yield savings account, but they also have a great line of CD’s. In fact, CIT has five different CD products to choose from.

  1. High Yield CDs–Ranging from 6-months to 5-years, you can invest in a CIT CD with standard terms. To be blunt, these are the weakest of the CD’s offered by CIT. The interest rates are not as strong as they are with other banks and the term lengths are boring. The minimum deposit amount is $1,000.
  2. No-Penalty CD–CIT offers customers a no-penalty CD for a period of 11 months. This CD allows you to withdraw your balance plus interest any-time you wish, after the first six days without an interest penalty. The current APY on this 11-month term is 1.55%, slightly better than the savings account. Minimum deposit to open a no-penalty CD is $1,000.
  3. RampUp CDs–One of the more intriguing CD options, the RampUp Plus CD allows you to increase your CD rate once per term. If during your term CIT is offering a higher rate than your current rate, just tell ’em and they’ll ramp it up! CIT currently offers this type of CD in a three year term at a 1.20% APY and a four year term at a 1.38% APY.
  4. RampUp Plus CDs–Similar to the RampUp CDs, there are two stark differences to the RampUp Plus version. First, the CD terms are shorter. The 1-year CD has an APY of 1.26% and the two year CD has an APY of 1.27%. Second, you can increase your deposit once as well. Ramp up your CD rate once, and ramp up your deposit once.
  5. Jumbo CDs–If you have at least $100,000 to deposit with CIT, you can take advantage of higher CD rates. Higher than what you might ask. Well, higher than their standard high yield CD rates. Once again however, the rates are still not up to par. For example, a 2-year Jumbo CD has an APY of 1.45%. Why not just park your money into an 11-month no penalty CD, which currently offers the same rate?

CIT Bonus Offers

Sorry to say that CIT currently has no bonus offers available. Earlier this year, they were offering up to a $400 deposit bonus for new accounts so it’s always smart to check back every so often. If you’re specifically in need of a savings account with a bonus offer, check our best bank promotions page.

Is CIT Bank Right For You?

If you have some savings that you’d like to tuck away in a high yield, online savings account–such as your emergency fund–CIT Bank is worth a look. CIT consistently ranks as the best or one of the best banks for high interest savings. If you’re looking for a deposit account and can’t find one with CIT, you’re likely doing it wrong!


Trying to decide whether to refinance a mortgage? In our guide, we walk you through how to refinance a mortgage and where to find the best rates.

how to refinance a mortgage

Have you been in your current home mortgage for a few years? Do you see advertised mortgage rates well below what you’re locked in for? And do wonder if you could save money by refinancing?

If you’ve considered a refi on your existing home mortgage, there are a few things to consider. While the process itself isn’t difficult, it is a bit involved. You’ll want to shop around, and you should definitely ask yourself some questions first.

We’d like to smooth the process and help you decide your next mortgage move. Here’s everything you need to know if you are thinking about refinancing your home.

When Should You Refinance?

There are a few key instances in which you would probably consider refinancing your mortgage. Let’s talk about some of them.

Interest Rates Have Dropped

Following the housing crash in 2007-08, mortgage interest rates began to plummet. They reached an all-time record low of 3.31 percent on November 22, 2012 before trending back upward. Then, in June 2016, they dipped again, reaching as low as 3.56 percent.

Last month (August 2017), the average mortgage interest rate was 3.88 percent. Let’s say you bought your home eleven years ago, in July 2006, when the average interest rate was 6.76 percent. That’s a difference of 2.88 percent, and you should definitely look into refinancing your rate. You’ll certainly save yourself a pretty penny in the end.

But what if you think you could get a rate today that’s only better by a percent or two? Is that worth the time, effort, and money involved with a refi?

Well, even 1-2 percent can make for some serious savings on a mortgage. Just look at this comparison:

As you can see, a 30-year mortgage for a $200,000 home (with a $20,000 down payment) will cost you $177,840 in interest alone if your rate is 5.25 percent. However, if you were to lower that to 4.25 percent, you’d only pay $138,600 in interest (a savings of $39,240). And if you snagged a 3.25 percent rate, you’d only pay $101,880 (which means $75,960 saved).

That “only a percent” or two actually goes a long way.

We will talk about how to calculate the exact savings in just a bit. But for now, know that if interest rates have dropped, refinancing your home is at least worth considering.

Your Credit Score Has Improved

As you are surely already aware, your credit plays a role in determining the mortgage loans and rates for which you qualify. So, if your credit has changed for the better, a refi is worth considering.

When you first took out your original home loan, your credit history at the time was a significant deciding factor. Your lender used it to approve your loan and decide which interest rate they wanted to offer you.

In the years that have passed, have you paid off debts? Increased card limits? Have negative reports been removed from your credit? If so, your credit has likely improved and, in turn, you’re probably eligible for a better rate than you were when you first obtained your mortgage.

You Want to Lower Your Monthly Payment

One reason that some folks refinance their mortgage is to lower their monthly payments. This isn’t always the wisest decision, as it typically requires extending the mortgage length. However, in some cases, it’s necessary.

For example, let’s say that you’ve been in your home for ten years (with an original 30-year mortgage) and recently determined that your payment is too high. You’ve been slowly paying the debt down over the past decade, but the monthly bill has begun placing a strain on your budget. You’d like it lowered, but what can you do?

Well, you can refinance the now-reduced balance, with 20 years left, into a new 30-year mortgage. This will spread the remaining balance out over a longer period of time, lowering your monthly payments.

You can make this a smarter decision by also working to secure a reduced interest rate. However, you should be aware that, over time, you’re likely going to pay more by going this particular refinance route. As mentioned, though, it’s sometimes a necessity, and is something to consider if your monthly payments have become unmanageable.

You Need Cash

Some borrowers will consider a mortgage refi if they want to get cash out of their home’s equity. This method is called a cash-out refinance, and it is different than a HELOC, or home equity line of credit.

With a cash-out refinance, you’ll be refinancing the home for more than you currently owe, in order to pocket the cash for some other use. This is a route you might consider if you need money for a home remodel or the like.

Let’s say that you live in a home worth $300,000, but you only owe $200,000 on your mortgage. (In this case, you have $100,000 worth of equity built up in the home.) You need $60,000 to build an addition onto the back of the house, and decide that using your home’s equity is a good idea.

You have two options: cash-out refinance or HELOC. With the cash-out refinance, you’ll take out a new mortgage worth $265,000, then use $200,000 of that to pay off the original mortgage. In the end, you’ll only have one note on the home and will pocket the $60,000 (approximately, after closing costs and such).

Conversely, a HELOC involves taking a second loan out against the equity of your home. This $60,000 (or whatever number) line of credit could be taken out with your original lender or a new one; it doesn’t matter. Keep in mind, though, that if you spend against that line of credit, you will now have two monthly payments: one for the original mortgage and one to repay the HELOC.

HELOCs typically have higher interest rates compared to refinanced mortgages. However, while a cash-out refinance is simpler in terms of only managing one debt, a benefit with the HELOC is that it doesn’t have closing costs.

Before you decide to use your home’s equity as a source of cash, be sure to do the math. You may end up costing yourself more in the long run (and losing the security of your home’s built-up equity) in the process.

Will You Save Money?

The biggest question when considering a mortgage refi, for most people, is, “Will it save me money?” While the answer is different for everyone, there are a few key factors to consider when doing your calculations.

Can You Do Better?

First, determine whether or not you can get a lower interest rate. If that’s your reason for exploring a refi, you need to know if it’s the right time.

Look at recent trends in mortgage rates and how much the current advertised rates differ from your existing rate. You can even apply and see what you qualify for through a few different lenders. There are mortgage aggregator tools available (to view multiple lenders at once), or you can just shop around.

Get up-to-date credit reports and scores (for free!) to know where you stand. If there are credit card balances that you can pay down or negative reports that are about to fall off, it’s worth holding off on your refi for a few months. That way, your credit is in the best place it can be in before you apply.

Also keep in mind that if you have multiple lenders pull your credit within the same 14-day timeframe, it will only count against your credit report once. This “rate shopping” time frame can go as high as 45 days with some FICO scoring models. But the older models (which some lenders still use) only give you 14 days. Since you never know which model a potential lender will use, keep that in mind.

Gather your resources and shop away.

  • Check LendingTree for the list of mortgage rates from preferred providers

Breakeven point

To decide whether refinancing your mortgage is the smartest financial move, you’ll need to know your breakeven point. As the name suggests, this is the point at which you will break even between what a refi costs you and how much it will save you. If you intend to sell your home before this point, refinancing is a waste of time and money.

In order to determine your breakeven point, you’ll need to know your loan origination fee. While this may vary from lender to lender, it’s typically around 1% of the loan total. So, if you’re refinancing your home for $200,000, you can expect your loan origination fee to be approximately $2,000.

Once you know that and have a general idea of what your new interest rate would be, you can use a mortgage comparison calculator (like this one) to see when your savings will be realized. It will compare your original (current) mortgage loan with a new, refinanced mortgage to see if and when you’ll save money.

It will show you your breakeven point, as well as the point at which you’ll stop seeing savings (if you have too long of a refinance term, for instance). That way, you know how long you should refinance your home for, so you can avoid throwing money away.

refinancing breakeven analysis

Deciding whether or not a mortgage refi is right for you is a personal decision. It depends on your credit score, how much you owe, current rate trends, and your reason for refinancing.

However, by doing a little bit of homework–and some math–you can ensure that you make the smartest financial decision for your family and your home.


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2018 Federal Income Tax Brackets

The IRS has released the 2018 tax rates. Here they are by income and tax filing status. We also cover exemption amounts and standard deduction.

2018 tax rates

Ah, fall has arrived. You know, the time of year when the leaves change colors, the days get shorter . . . and the IRS releases next year’s tax brackets.

This year is no different. Last week, Uncle Sam let us know how much we can expect to pay in taxes next year, based on our income.

It’s important to remember that these numbers are not the ones you’ll be using to prepare your taxes this coming spring. (If you need a refresher, those numbers can be found on the 2017 bracket page.)

Instead, these 2018 brackets are for the taxes you can expect to pay on any income that you earn in 2018. This means that you’ll use these numbers for the taxes that you prepare in the spring of 2019. Let’s take a look and see what’s new.

Updated Tax Rates

The new brackets below outline the taxes that you can expect to pay from January through December of 2018, which you’ll then file in spring 2019. You can use them to adjust your withholdings and plan your finances next year (especially if you’re a contract employee or freelancer and need to pay quarterly taxes).

2018 Marginal Rates

As you can expect, bracket limits have been bumped for the year. The limits haven’t risen all that much, though, so your impact won’t be too significant.

Here’s a look at the chart:

2018 Tax Brackets

Here are the tax brackets in more detail.

Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses

Taxable Income Taxes
Up to $19,050 10% of taxable income
Over $19,050 but not over $77,400 $1,905 plus 15% of excess over $19,050
Over $77,400 but not over $156,150 $10,657.50 plus 25% of the excess over $77,400
Over $156,150 but not over $237,950 $30,345 plus 28% of the excess over $156,150
Over $237,950 but not over $424,950 $53,249 plus 33% of the excess over $237,950
Over $424,950 but not over $480,050 $114,959 plus 35% of the excess over $424,950
Over $480,050 $134,244 plus 39.6% of the excess over $480,050

Heads of Households

Taxable Income Taxes
Up to $13,600 10% of taxable income
Over $13,600 but not over $51,850 $1,360 plus 15% of excess over $13,600
Over $51,850 but not over $133,850 $7,097.50 plus 25% of the excess over $51,850
Over $133,850 but not over $216,700 $27,597.50 plus 28% of the excess over $133,850
Over $216,700 but not over $424,950 $50,795.50 plus 33% of the excess over $216,700
Over $424,950 but not over $453,350 $119,518 plus 35% of the excess over $424,950
Over $453,350 $129,458 plus 39.6% of the excess over $453,350

Unmarried Individuals (other than Surviving Spouses and Heads of Households:

Taxable Income Taxes
Up to $9,525 10% of taxable income
Over $9,525 but not over $38,700 $952.50 plus 15% of excess over $9,525
Over $38,700 but not over $93,700 $5,328.75 plus 25% of the excess over $38,700
Over $93,700 but not over $195,450 $19,078.75 plus 28% of the excess over $93,700
Over $195,450 but not over $424,950 $47,568.75 plus 33% of the excess over $195,450
Over $424,950 but not over $426,700 $123,303.75 plus 35% of the excess over $424,950
Over $426,700 $123,916.25 plus 39.6% of the excess over $426,700

Married Individuals Filing Separately:

Taxable Income Taxes
Up to $9,525 10% of taxable income
Over $9,525 but not over $38,700 $952.50 plus 15% of excess over $9,525
Over $38,700 but not over $78,075 $5,328.75 plus 25% of the excess over $38,700
Over $78,075 but not over $118,975 $15,172.50 plus 28% of the excess over $78,075
Over $118,975 but not over $212,475 $26,624.50 plus 33% of the excess over $118,975
Over $212,475 but not over $240,025 $57,479.50 plus 35% of the excess over $212,475
Over $240,025 $67,122 plus 39.6% of the excess over $240,025

The most important thing to remember about these numbers is that they could still change if tax reform actually happens. If it doesn’t, however, you can count on the numbers above for 2018.

Standard Deduction

Another slight increase comes in the form of the standard deduction. But again, this isn’t a significant bump.

For 2018, single taxpayers and those who are married but filing separately can take a standard deduction of $6,500 (an increase from last year’s $6,350). Heads of household can take $9,550 (up from $9,350) and married couples filing jointly can take $13,000 (up from $12,700).

If you’re blind or older than 65, you can take an additional standard deduction of $1,300. If you’re unmarried, this additional deduction is $1,600.

This means that you can decrease the amount of income on which you pay taxes by this standard deduction. So, if you made $50,000 last year and are single, the standard deduction will decrease your taxable income down to $43,500.

Personal Exemption

After two years at $4,050, the personal exemption has increased to $4,150 for 2018. And just like the standard deduction above, the personal exemption means that you can earn even more money without owing income taxes on it.

However, the personal exemptions phase out beginning with a certain level of income. This means that if you make too much money, you won’t be able to take the full personal exemption on your earned income. This threshold begins at $266,700 for single filers, $160,000 for married filing separately, $320,000 for married filing jointly, and $293,550 for heads of household.

How to Calculate Your Taxes

While most of us simply plug our W-2 into TurboTax and let the computer do the thinking for us, it’s still important to at least know how tax brackets work.

For the sake of our example, let’s assume that you’re a single filer with an earned income of $110,650, and you don’t have any dependents. Take your income and subtract both your standard deduction and personal exemption, and you’re left with $100,000 in taxable income.

Now, apply your marginal tax rates.

Based on your first $9,525 of income, you’ll own 10% (for a total of $952.50 in taxes). For income dollars $9,526 through $38,700, you’ll owe 15% (for another $4,376.25). Then, for income dollars $38,701 through $93,700, you’ll pay 25% in taxes (adding up to another $13,750). This means that for your first $93,700 in income, you’ll pay a total of $19,078.75 in income taxes.

Now take the income left over ($6,300) and apply the next marginal tax rate of 28%. This will add another $1,764 to your tax bill. That means that for the year, you will pay a total of $20,842.75 in taxes on your total $110,650 earned.

For that level of income, your marginal tax rate ranged from 10% to 28%; however, your effective tax rate comes out to only 20.84% of your taxable income ($100,000). If you count it against your entire earned income ($110,650), though, you’re paying only 18.84% in taxes for the year.

You should also note that investment income can sometimes be taxed separately from, and at a lower interest rate than, earned income.

It’s interesting to look at these newly-released brackets, knowing that there’s a chance for tax reform. This would, of course, change everything shown here. If this happens, we will be sure to update you right away!

Next Steps

  • Get your tax returns filed quickly, easily and inexpensively with TurboTax.


Get the best bank bonuses, promos and deals with this regularly updated list of bank signup promotions.

best bank bonuses

When opening a bank account, there are a few things you should be looking for: low (or no) fees, the highest interest rates possible, and promotional bonus offers.

With the latter, you can often score free money without doing anything extra. I don’t know about you, but that’s a win in my book! After all, promotional bonus cash is better than the free toasters that your local branch used to hand out, wouldn’t you agree? You may also want to check out the best online savings accounts.

Here is a list of our favorite bank deals that are available right now:

1. TD Bank Premier Checking–Get $300

This is a pretty simple bonus to earn, as long as you’re able to meet their minimum requirements. It’s available to new personal checking customers in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and Vermont.

All you need to do is:

  • Visit TD Bank’s website and sign up for a new TD Bank Premier Checking account.
  • Set up and receive $2,500+ in direct deposits within the first 60 days of opening your account.

After you meet those requirements, TD Bank will deposit your $300 bonus into your new account.

Note: the TD Bank Premier Checking accounts do have a monthly service fee of $15. This can be waived if you keep a daily balance of at least $100.

2. Chase Total Checking® & Chase Savings–Get up to $350

This $350 bonus actually consists of two separate bonus offers. They can be combined or used separately, depending on your needs. Both offers together total $350 in free cash.

  • Get up to $350 when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account with Direct Deposit and/or open a new Chase SavingsSM account, deposit $ 10,000 or more in new money and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days
  • Receive a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
  • Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase SavingsSM account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 10 days, and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days
  • Access to over 16,000 Chase ATMs and 5,100 branches
  • Mobile check deposit–It’s as easy as taking a selfie.
  • Access Chase QuickPay®– Take the drama out of splitting a check.
  • Real-time fraud monitoring–We watch your debit-card to help your money stay your money.
  • Expires 01.08.2018

Note: Chase Total Checking® accounts do have a $12 monthly fee. This can be avoided if you a) have monthly direct deposits totaling $500+ made to the account, b) keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500+ in the account, OR c) keep an average daily balance of $5,000+ in any combination of qualifying Chase checking, savings, and other balances.

Note: Chase SavingsSM accounts do have a $5 monthly fee. This can be avoided by a) keeping a daily balance of $300+ in your savings account, b) have at least one repeating, scheduled transfer of $25+ from your Chase personal checking account (this needs to be scheduled through Chase OnlineSM Banking), OR c) have a linked Chase Premier Plus CheckingSM, Chase Premier Platinum CheckingSM, or Chase Private Client CheckingSM account.

This offer is in-branch only! In order to be eligible for these bonuses, you’ll need to print the coupon the send you online. Then, take that coupon in to your local Chase branch to open the new account(s).  Once you complete these steps for each of the two new accounts, you’ll have earned a whopping $350 in free cash! Not a bad deal.

3. Chase Premier Plus Checking–Get $300 

This offer is different from the one above. Instead of the Total Checking account mentioned in #2, this offer is for the next tier up: the Chase Premier Plus Checking account.

  • Enjoy $300 as a new Chase checking customer, when you open a Chase Premier Plus Checking(SM) account and set up direct deposit
  • Get $300, more benefits, and earn interest on your new Chase checking account.
  • The $25 Monthly Service Fee is waived when you keep an average beginning day balance of $15,000 or more in any combination of this account and linked qualifying Chase checking, savings and other balances
  • No Chase fee on first four non-Chase ATM transactions per statement period
  • Earn interest on your checking account balance.
  • Access to over 16,000 Chase ATMs and 5,100 branches
  • Deposit checks from virtually anywhere, anytime, just by taking a photo with our Chase Mobile® app.
  • Expires 01.08.2018

After completing all three of these steps, Chase will deposit your $300 bonus into the new account within 10 business days. If you close this account within the first six months, however, they will deduct the full bonus amount from your closing balance!

Note: There is a $25 monthly service fee on this account, which can be waived by a) maintaining an average daily balance of $15,000+ in any combination of qualifying Chase accounts (checking, savings, and other balances), OR b) having a qualifying Chase mortgage and setting up automatic payments for it from your Premier Plus Checking account.

This offer is also in-branch only.

4. Bank of America Checking– Get $100

If you’re new to Bank of America, here’s a $100 bonus good through the end of the year. All you’ll need to do is:

  • Open a qualifying personal checking account (only available to new customers), online or in-branch; these include Core Checking® and Interest Checking® accounts.
  • Deposit the minimum opening amount ($25 for Core Checking® and $100 for Interest Checking®).
  • Set up two monthly direct deposits totaling $250 or more for at least the first 90 days.

Once you complete these requirements and keep your account in good standing, Bank of America will deposit your $100 bonus into the new account within 60 days.

Note: Both of these checking accounts incur monthly service fees. The Core Checking® account comes with a $12 fee, which you can have waived by a) having at least one direct deposit of $250+ made each monthly statement cycle, b) maintaining a minimum daily balance of $1,500+ each cycle, OR c) enrolling in Preferred Rewards. For Interest Checking®, the fee is $25 and can be waived by a) maintaining $10,000+ in combined balances between eligible, linked accounts each statement cycle, OR b) enrolling in Preferred Rewards.

5. Discover Online Savings–Get up to $200

Discover is offering a sizable bonus for their online savings account product, and the bonus comes in one of two forms. Depending on the amount of your initial deposit, you’ll earn either $150 or $200. Details below:

  • Apply for your first Discover Online Savings account by 10.31.2017
  • Enter code ST17 when applying
  • Deposit a total of $15,000 by 11.15.2017 to earn a $150 bonus OR
  • Deposit a total of $20,000 by 11.15.2017 to earn a $200 bonus
  • Money will be credited no later than 11.30.2017

There a no monthly fees associated with the Discover Bank Savings Account and you’ll earn a current interest rate of 1.20%.

6. Santander Bank Checking–Get $150

This offer is only valid through 12/31/17, so be sure to jump quickly if you want the free $150. All you need to do is:

  • Open an eligible checking account at Santander Bank as a new customer. These include the Simply Right®, Basic, and Premier Plus checking accounts.
  • Make the minimum deposit ($25 for Simply Right® and Basic accounts, $50 for Premier Plus).
  • Have direct deposits of $1,000+ made into the account within the first 90 days.
  • Keep your account open for 90+ days.
  • Use Promo Code DIG15010ND
  • Expires 12.31.2017

Once all five of these requirements are met, the bank will deposit your $150 bonus into your new account within 30 days.

Note: These accounts each incur a monthly service fee. These can be waived in the following ways:

  • Simply Right® ($10 fee)–All you need to do is make any financial transaction that posts within that calendar month. This includes deposits, withdrawals, transfers, or payments. Anything.
  • The $3 monthly fee for the Basic checking account cannot be waived.
  • Premier Plus ($35 fee)–Make a total of $6,000+ in direct deposits each month OR maintain a combined $75,000 in deposits + balances with Santander Investment Services.

You can apply online at Santander Bank, or go online to print a coupon and open your account in-branch.

7. Fifth Third Essential Checking® —Get $200

This is another offer that is only good through the end of the year. It’s available to residents of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia. In order to get your free $200, you’ll need to:

  • Open a new, qualifying account online, in-branch, or by phone.
  • Deposit a minimum of $500 within the first 45 days.
  • Maintain the $500 minimum balance for a period of 60 days
  • Expires 12.31.2017

Once you meet these two simple requirements, you’ll receive your $200 bonus in the form of a deposit into your new account, within 10 business days..

Note: The Essential Checking® account comes with an $11 monthly service fee. The fee drops to $8 a month if you have a monthly direct deposit totaling $500+.

Either of these fees can be waived if you a) maintain a combined monthly balance of $1,500 or more between your eligible accounts, b) spend $500 or more each month on a Fifth Third credit card, c) currently hold a balance on an existing Fifth Third mortgage, auto loan, or personal line of credit, d) are a current or former member of the US military and make monthly direct deposits of $500 or more, e) have a valid student ID, f) are a member of your employer’s Fifth Third banking benefits program and make monthly direct deposits of $500 or more, OR g) have a Business Premium or Business Elite Checking account.

8. M&T Bank Checking–Get $150

If you live in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia, this offer is one way for you to earn $150 free from M&T Bank. You’ll need to:

  • Open a new personal checking account online or in-branch (with this printed coupon).
  • Make one qualifying direct deposit of $100 or more within the first 90 days.
  • Keep your account open for at least 90 days more
  • Expires 10.31.2017

That’s it. M&T Bank will deposit your $150 bonus cash into your new account within 90 days of the direct deposit.

Note: M&T Bank’s EZChoice Checking accounts come with a $6.95 monthly service fee. This can be waived by simply making one deposit to or withdrawal from the account during that charge cycle.

9. Charles Schwab–Get $100

If you are new to Charles Schwab, you can open one of a number of accounts, and earn $100 cash. This includes their personal banking accounts, as long as it is linked to a Schwab One® brokerage account. You’ll need to:

  • Open a Schwab Bank Checking account through this link or by calling 800-398-8640 and mentioning the code REFER.
  • Fund the account with any amount you choose–there is no minimum opening deposit OR minimum balance!
  • Your application will automatically open a Schwab Bank brokerage account for you, too, which will be linked to the checking account.
  • Fund the second account with any amount your choose–this account also has no minimum deposit or balance requirements.
  • Keep the accounts open for a minimum of one year, to avoid the bonus being charged back.

Even if you put a single penny in these accounts, you’ll still receive your bonus of $100 about a month after opening them. Then, just keep the account open for a year. There are no monthly service fees and no minimums, so it’s a pretty easy way to earn free cash.

**Please note: While this is a very easy bonus to earn, without any big requirements, you need to watch the application process. Charles Schwab will often use a hard pull inquiry when opening accounts, especially for new-to-CS customers. This may be worth it to you (or it may not), but just be aware of the possibility.


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