Bank account churning: churn with me

Bank account churning, or checking account churning, is the process of opening a new bank account for a new customer bonus. But how do you do it?

In this article, I will take you through the process of choosing a bonus, reading the terms and conditions, completing the activities, and then finally collecting your money.

Step 1: Choose an Offer

You can find new customer bonus offers all around the internet. Simply search, “bank account offers [month] [year]”

My favorite place to go is Bankrate or Nerd Wallet.

For those advanced “churners”, don’t discount “indie” websites highlighting offers from smaller credit unions. I’ve seen offers where you join a park association for $25 which qualifies you to join a credit union, therefore making you eligible for their offer. However, no need to overcomplicate things at this point.

Step 2 – Read the Terms and Conditions

After you choose an offer, navigate the the “promotion” page where the offer is placed boldly on the top.

And then scroll to the bottom.

The terms and conditions will tell you all the things you need to do, and in order, of when they need to be done.

For example, let’s take this Truist Bank offer for $400.

Go through it with me:

  1. For this offer, I need to open a Truist One Checking account online (rather in-person @ the bank) between February 28th, 2024 through June 26th, 2024
  2. I also, must open the account and use the promo code (as seen above – TRUIST400DC24)
  3. After opening the account, I have to get a direct deposit of $500 or more AND
  4. Using the debit card that goes with the account, use my debit card 15 times
  5. Once again, the account must be opened online (not in-person) and I have to use the code, TRUIST400DC24 (or sometimes there’s a link to click that automatically applies the promo code)
  6. Transfers from ATMs, other bank accounts, or via the app DO NOT COUNT as a direct deposit. A direct deposit often comes from your job/salary and it accompanies this “ACH” tag in the description
  7. When using the debit card, the transactions (“swipes”) must be posted within 90 days. Meaning, make the purchases, allowing 2-3 days for processing, and all of that must occur before 90 days after opening the account.

Not too bad, right?

There’s a little more.

  • If you’ve already opened a personal checking account with Truist or closed one after February 28th, 2023, you’re not eligible (that’s me, booooo!)
  • Note, that you must live in those states, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississipi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennesse, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington DC. If you’re in Montana, you’re out of luck on this offer, but keep searching because there are offers for you.
  • You will get your bonus within 4 weeks of completing all of the terms.
  • If you change your account from a Truist One to a Truist Two account, the bonus will be forfeited
  • AT OPENING, you must deposit $50 from another bank account.
  • And once again, you MUST use this code, “TRUIST400DC24”

Whoo! That was a doozy.

If this is your first time trying to get one of these bonuses, it’s definitely a lot at the beginning but it’s worth it, especially considering most offers have similar requirements.

So, by doing one, you’re kinda doing them all.

Step 3 – Choose an Account and Get Started

This Truist offer, makes it clear that we need to open a specific account, a Truist One Checking account, which we can double check, has no monthly fees.

On the other hand, an offer might require you to choose from 2-6 accounts. Once again, choose one that a) satisfies the offer requirements, b) has no monthly fees (which can eat into your earnings), and c) has features tha you like (like a debit card or app access).

Then, start the application. Make sure to either use the promo code, as Truist stated like 8 times in the Terms & Conditions, or use the link to the offer directly.

From there, you’ll need to enter personal information like your name, your address, social security number, zip code etc. to verify your identity.

Note: verify that the offer will not affect your credit score. I love Dr. of Credit because they mention if an offer will do a “hard pull” or a “soft pull” of your credit. A hard pull, shows up on your credit report, and if you have too many “inquiries”, it can negatively affect credit. A soft pull, means the bank still looks at your credit but it won’t show up at TransUnion.

Step 4 – Switch Your Direct Deposit

As stated in the offer (and most offers), you need to get the $500 (in this case), from a Direct Deposit, typically from your job, or any transaction that has the “ACH” code.

For most people, they can log onto their employee portal and change the information themselves. You’ll need the new account’s account number and bank routing number.

For others, you might need “proof of account” from the bank but coordinate with your HR. Keep in mind, that some employers have a waiting period where you the money won’t be deposited in the new account until the pay period after you submit the form so keep that in mind for the 60-day time limit

Step 4.5 – Plan Finances Accordingly

Given that your checks will be routing to this new account, ensure that you connect this account to your bill paying account. For example, I pay my phone and car insurance from my local credit union. When doing this Truist offer, I had to connect my Truist account to my credit union to ensure as soon as I got paid in the Truist account, I could transfer it to the local credit

Notice: Account verifications (initially connecting the accounts) and account transfers take 3 business days. Plan accordingly. We’re here to make money, not make late payments.

Step 5 – You Better Work, Miss

For this Truist offer, you must receive a paycheck of $500 or more. If you regularly receive this, no sweat. You’re all good.

However, I did this offer when I was a junior in college making $12.50 an hour.

So, I had to do some math:

Basically, to achieve a $500 check, I had to work ~49 hours which meant I had to make arrangements with my manager. So, you hopefully aren’t criminally underpaid, or your deposit requirement is lower, but you may have to pick up some extra shifts, make a couple more tik toks, sell some part pieces, or brand deals for good measure.

Step 5.5 – Bonus Requirement (Part 2)

This offer had an extra step of using their debit card.

All you have to do is use the debit card.

Beware: you can decrease your bonus by buying random things you don’t need just to satisfy this requirement. The best thing to do is to buy things you were already going to buy such as groceries or gas. Bonus points if you can split up the transaction to hit the required number of transactions faster.

Step 6 – Wait

After you’ve double (triple)-checked that you completed all the requirements (don’t forget the opening deposit), the only thing left to do is to wait.

According to Truist Bank, you will receive your bonus within 4 weeks (and often sooner).

Step 7 – Celebrate and switch Back

I completed my bonus originally in 2023.

You got your money, whooooooooooooo !!

What are you gonna do with it?

Whether you’re going on a vacation, paying off some debt, investing in your Roth IRA, starting a business, or padding your savings, you’ve got to admit, that wasn’t too bad.

With just 30 min-1.5 hrs of paperwork, an extra shift, and patience, I hope you realized how amazing bank account churning is and how it can supplement your financial journey.

From here, if you enjoyed the customer service, or any perks, you can continue using this bank. If not, give the terms and conditions one last glance over, and close the account && switch back your original Direct Deposit.

Tips and Tricks

Tip #1 – Keep Track of Dates

Use a planner, your phone, or Google calendar to ensure you meet the requirements in the required timespan.

When I did a different offer, I forgot to use the debit card in the allotted time and forfeited $98. *Sad emoji*

Tip #2 – Find a small item for debit transactions

Instead of buying 50 random things for $5 trying to earn the $2 per swipe, find something super cheap like a $0.50 bag of chips in the Publix checkout line or a piece of $0.19 taffy at Whole Foods.

Or as I said before, buy your groceries or gas as normal or in smaller transactions (ex. pasta and sauce on different transactions)

Tip #3 – Double check the Terms and be realistic

Some deposits have to be large like one (1) deposit of $500. Others, state that you must have a total of $500 of deposits. In other words, one deposit compared to multiple.

Ask yourself, “Can I meet the earning requirements in X amount of time?” If not, it’s best to choose another offer so you don’t forfeit your ability to do it in the future when you do make more money.

Tip #4 – Save the offer digitally.

Take pictures, screenshots or save the page as a PDF to your computer.

The Terms and Conditions state that the bank can change the offer at any time. (I’ve seen offers change from $600 to $375 so save the page in case you need to ask a customer service)

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