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[…] and I’ve written several posts on my progress with them over the past couple of years (See: 2020 bank account bonus tally: $4680 earned, $1525 more on the way and Earning $6,000+ in bank and brokerage bonuses: the time spent makes […]

[…] account bonuses last year, which should be more than $6,500 once pending bonuses are received. (See 2020 bank account bonus tally: $4480 earned, $1725 more on the way for more details on that.) Chime wasn’t one of the accounts he opened, but it could be a good […]

[…] If you are interested in bank account bonuses, I recommend checking out Doctor of Credit’s Best Bank Account Bonuses page and by reading Frequent Miler’s 2020 bank account bonus tally: $4480 earned, $1725 more on the way. […]


Reyes, thanks for the update.
I followed your steps and opened a few accounts which brought some easy money.
My question to you: when you recommend closing the accounts? Immediately after the bonus was posted, or setup some recurring transfer to keep it alive for a longer time. Maybe one year.


My issue is that my local bank does not do transfers to other banks. So I have to put my funds with a bank that does this.

Eddy V

You don’t have to be stuck with one bank


Nick, just curious, have you calculated your total cash-on-cash return (% ROI based on the total amount of cash you had to leave tied up in these accounts)? I’ve done a handful of bank bonuses and wish I enjoyed the process more. I find it takes up too much space in my brain, so I end up feeling like the hourly rate I “earn” from the bonuses isn’t that great. But with interest rates on CDs and high-yield savings accounts so low right now, the opportunity cost of chasing bank bonuses is certainly lower than ever, too.


Great analysis–thanks. I’ll probably try a few bank bonuses in 2021, along with my current side hustle: cashing out URs with Pay Yourself Back. Thanks to a willing P2 and good MS options in my area, I earned about $5k in statement credits that way this year.

Joe W

Great article! How soon is too soon to cancel a checking account once you receive the bonus especially if you have no further use for it? Are there any banks known for clawing back bonuses more so than others?



great article. How much cash does a person need to start with to try to replicate what you did?

[…] A great option is to earn a bank account bonus at the same time.  See this Doctor of credit post for current bank account bonuses and see this post for examples in action. […]

[…] written several times this year about the value of checking account bonuses — including information on thousands of dollars we’ve earned this year in my household thanks to bank account bonuses. While we don’t cover every new checking […]

[…] transfers from an external checking account have been triggering the direct deposit requirements (I’ve written about it here). You typically need a total of $5,000 in direct deposits over the course of the calendar month […]


Hi Nick,
Nice article. I recently tried few accounts. Citi $200 very easy with $5k deposit for 3m and no fee for over 62. I also tried Chase $600 for chk/savings combo. The $200 for saving is easy with $15k deposit for 3m. But i am not sure if my ACH will trigger the checking and Combo. Finding the right alternative for DD is a pain.

Adam Jones

Is there a way to set up Direct Deposits to perform yourself rather than going to your HR every so often to change your DD? I like the concept, but I don’t want to upset my secretaries every few months either lol.


Depending on who your company uses for payroll. I think ADP will let you go onto their site and change it yourself.
In my case, we are a small company and I just ask our Payroll admin to change it, which just requires her to plug a new acct into her excel sheet. She knows what I’m up too and is happy to help. I also make sure pass along any really easy bonuses that she might be interested in like the recent sofi one.

Adam Jones

Thank you Matt! Great info!

Adam Jones

Thank you! I recently found your podcasts and love and now I am hooked!

[…] written a couple of times in the past about picking low-hanging fruit (see this recent post: Money moves: $3K in bonuses so far this year (low-hanging fruit, 2020 edition)). Bank bonuses can be easy money, and it doesn’t get a lot easier than this new SoFi bonus: […]

[…] Money moves: $3K in bonuses so far this year (low-hanging fruit, 2020 edition) […]

[…] those young readers newly getting started out of college and on career paths. It was a comment from reader Larry last week that really resonated with […]


What are the “other” ways to direct deposit? Will PayPal funds work?

Jeff in GA

Agree with the previous poster about Bogleheads dedicated to the man who brought low cost investing to the masses, John Bogle founder of Vanguard which is owned by its investors (essentially a non-profit). I highly recommend them OR the low cost broad index ETF’s offered by Fidelity. You cannot beat the market so don’t waste your money trying to pick stocks unless it’s “fun money” (pretty much like gambling ’cause it kind of is).

Buy broad passively managed indexes like the Total Stock Market Index (not the Patagonian Borax ETF) mix in an international index and again U.S. and international bond funds and you can achieve broad diversification with 4 ETF’s/funds.

Honestly, credit cards and the like are fun but as my old boss would say “don’t major in the minors”. Starting and keeping to an investment strategy is the single most important financial move you can make. Pay yourself first and remember what Einstein said “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.”


Agree with the Boglehead praise. I cannot say enough good things about that site!


I recently received a targeted offer from Citi for 50K AA miles after opening a checking account and paying one bill for 2 consecutive months as well as $750 in debit card spend. The miles posted 60 days after fulfilling the requirements. That was the easiest offers I’ve ever fulfilled.


dont forget the ever present Chase bonuses. We have been getting $600 for checking/savings just about every year. I look for the offer that does not require DD that they run occasionally. My wife has real DD options and it is very easy for her to get the deal…Lately the business checking has been a pain, with lots of verification and it takes an hour in branch to set up. They say it is to prevent terrorism, but i think it may have to do with the small business money on the table from the government. Anyway Chase has been offering this low hanging fruit for at least 5 years now, i’m surprised it didnt make your list.


In the email I don’t see who wrote the article anymore. I need to click on the link to see it. Can this be fixed?

Greg The Frequent Miler

Yes, we’ve been working on it. I think it will be fixed soon! Finally you’ll be able to avoid clicking the ones written by me 🙂


Pulled in a little over $5,000 in the last 12 months just in checking/Saving bonuses.


Regarding HSBC, I have seen some DPs that indicate they don’t charge fees on new premiere checking accounts for the first at least few months (a grace period of sorts).

Having said that dps I’ve seen also seem to indicate practically any kind of ACH works with them so hopefully everything is good. I’m in the early stages of that bonus myself.


first 6 months no fees on the premier checking per T&Cs


It’s important to time direct deposits with the opening of a new account to ensure they are done in each of the months required. Each company has their own rules for how long checking account changes take, too, so make sure the first month’s direct deposit isn’t missed based on rules outside your control.

I would also like for you to cover how often you close new deposit accounts, Nick, for avoiding trouble with the banks. Maybe there is no issue but seems repeated hits to ChexSystems might raise a red flag?


Curious but isn’t there some tracking of people opening a bunch of accounts and then you can no longer open accounts?
You may have covered this.

I’ve contemplated sitting at home and going full Kasasa on every account possible just to raise my yield on free cash to 3% or better but it’s really time consuming.


Great stuff. Thanks, Nick!


Good article! Like you, I maxed out our Chase Sapphire 5X bonus for groceries by buying HEB gift cards.

Side note: For a few months now, I have been focused on how to earn 5X when paying various cash labor in our rural area, such as our pool cleaning fellow, yard work, house cleaning, etc. They all happily accept Visa or grocery GC that I’ve picked up at 5X.


The money you are making on these bonuses pales in comparison to what you are giving away each year by paying for investment advisors and high ratio funds. If you can make that a priority over the next year or so you will make so much more in the long run. Boggleheads is a really great start. There are charts and threads that will show you the compounding effect over a career of seemingly minor expense ratios and fees. It is really staggering. You can do it yourself. Simple. Low cost. Diversified. Don’t tinker.


Nick, I am in the same place as you with realizing that some of my investment choices (and even worse letting money sit in brokerage “cash” accounts for years) have been expensive mistakes. I currently am adjusting my portfolio to have the asset allocation that I want and switching higher expense ratio actively managed funds to low cost index mutual funds and ETFs.

I don’t think there is a lot of risk for moving from one fund to another, especially if you are keeping similar asset types and doing this in retirement accounts, where selling/buying do not have any tax implications. I recently did this with my Roth IRA, selling all my positions (mostly Fidelity mutual funds) one day, and reinvesting in new funds within a week (for the buy transactions, I waited for a day that the market was down and bought late in the afternoon before the market closed). It should be even easier to reallocate the balance in my former employer’s 401K (managed by Fidelity NetBenefits), since I just need to select the new percentages I want in each investment choice. The Fidelity CSR told me all the new/changed positions take effect the day I change the allocation, assuming I submit before the market closes.

For investing the money that I have let sit in cash, that is harder for me. I realize that many people advocate investing a lump sum all at once. But, others prefer to spread it out, to achieve dollar cost averaging (DCA) by sometimes buying shares at a higher price and other times buying them at a lower price. I have opted for the latter approach, especially given the current market volatility. Once I make the initial investment in each account, I will then buy the same ETFs/mutual funds on the same day each month going forward, and have all the money invested within a year or two.

I have been doing a ton of research about investing/financial independence the last couple of months, so if you have questions or want some references to investment advice I have found useful, feel free to reach out via email. P.S. I am not a complete stranger on the internet; I talked to you and Greg at the Washington, DC travel show in March (it seems like years ago).


Nick, if your money is in a Roth IRA, at least you don’t have to worry about any capital gains tax implications. Here’s a method that may allow you to overcome your leeriness. Do a free portfolio x-ray with Morningstar to figure out how where your money is now: how much in domestic stocks, how much in international stocks, how much in bonds. Then move your money to the appropriate US Stock Market, Int’l Stock Market, and Bond index funds to match those %s. Obviously you won’t be in the exact same situation as you were before in terms of sector weighting and all that secondary stuff, but in very broad strokes you should be reasonably aligned with your current portfolio but with much lower fees. Then sometime in the future you can think about what you want your asset allocation to REALLY be and make adjustments to get there. No need to eat the elephant in one big bite.

If your concern is about what might happen with your money out of the market for a day, I’d say 1) That’s a pretty unreasonable fear. 2) You can avoid 90% of this by putting your sell order in for what you want to sell and on the same day putting a buy order in for 90% of the value of the sell order. Your mutual fund is not going to go down by 10% in a single day so you’ll be covered. Then the next day when you find out how much your sales proceeds actually were, you can reinvest the other 10%.


id love to try this but after getting hit with having to pay taxes on the $$$ earned I’m struggling with diving in. Anyone have any thoughts they’d care to share?


Just set aside 20% in a savings account to settle up at tax time. Holding out because of taxes is like refusing to work because they are going to take taxes out of your pay check. You do have to set the bar on what amount of $ is worth your effort, but a lot of these can be done from the couch. $400 for maybe 2 hrs worth of effort is worth it in my book


It was your low hanging fruit article that got me to finally start hitting up some of these bank bonuses, so thanks. I think so far I’m not doing quite as well as you but still making enough for some new toys. I realized the multiple accounts would also give me a good way to spread out MO deposits so I wasn’t having to risk my main checking account getting shut down. Which leads to my question. Do you have any feeling for how online accts (sofi & t-mibile specifically) do with MO deposits.


Why would your main checking account be at risk for shutdown?

I’m drawing a blank: what is MO?

Joseph N.

MO = money orders. A bank will close a personal account that receives too many money order deposits. I don’t think Frequent Miler has ever given us guidance or data points on how many MOs will cause an account to be closed.


Thank you Joseph and Nick!


Great article. Nick, Can you please share with us, which banks work or didn’t work for your direct deposits? Thanks!


Thanks, I am using those details, however, I was wondering where you had success since the information is reliable. 🙂


I am curious why you omitted the bank you used?


Is this the polite way of saying “no spoon feeding!”?


– also gotten my feet wet in investing these past 3 months. Planning on focusing on high quality companies that would survive the pandemic with a small proportion of my portfolio dedicated to travel (because that my passion and I know a lot about it) and the big banks (because of you guys I also know a lot about it). Otherwise it’s ETFs for me.