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The 10 best checking account bonuses for March 2023

Updated March 1, 2023, 8:54 PM UTC

Many financial institutions try to set themselves apart from the crowd by offering new customers a bonus for opening an account with them. While a bonus shouldn’t be the ultimate deciding factor when weighing various checking accounts, it doesn’t hurt to know what’s available to you and how you might benefit from choosing one financial institution over another. 

To help make your decision a little easier, the Fortune RecommendsTM editorial team ranked more than 15 different checking accounts that are currently offering bonuses and came up with a list of the top 10 picks. We weighed bonus amounts, minimum balance requirements, annual percentage yields (APYs) for interest-earning checking accounts, branch and free ATM access, mobile and online banking platforms, and customer service options. (Read our full methodology here.)

  1. Citibank: $200–$2,000
  2. SoFi: $250
  3. FNBO Direct: $300–$700
  4. PNC Bank: $50–$400
  5. Citizens Bank: $300–$400
  6. One Finance: $25–$35
  7. Huntington National Bank: $400–$600
  8. Citadel Credit Union: $300
  9. TD Bank: $300–$500
  10. Axos Bank: $100

The 10 best checking account bonuses of March 2023 

Here’s our rundown of the top 10 checking accounts that offer bonuses, including the key figures you should know before you open an account. (Note: Bonus amounts and requirements, APYs, and fees are up to date as of March 1, 2023, but are subject to change.)

1. Citibank

About: Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York and is headquartered in New York City. Citi currently offers credit cards, checking and savings accounts, lending services, wealth management services, and more. Citi customers also have access to more than 2,300 ATMs in over 600 Citibank branches and over 60,000 other surcharge-free ATMs in the U.S. including Citi-branded ATMs in retail stores. Customers can get an overview of their account and do most of their banking online or via Citi’s mobile app. 

Bonus: $200–$2,000
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $10 (can be waived if you meet certain requirements)
APY: 0%

Customer support

Citibank offers 24/7 customer support via telephone and live chat. 

Our verdict

Good for big spenders and savers. Even though this is not an interest-earning checking account, Citibank took the top spot on our list for its lucrative bonus structure. It is currently offering a bonus of up to $2,000 for new checking account holders who open an eligible checking account between now and April 4, 2023. Beware: Only big spenders will qualify, as you’ll need a minimum deposit of $300,000. 

If you don’t have that amount ready to sock away in a checking account, Citi also offers bonuses starting at $200 for a $10,000 minimum deposit. There is, however, no minimum opening deposit to open a Citi Access Package checking account, and the monthly service fee of $10 can be waived if you make one enhanced direct deposit or one qualifying bill payment per statement period or maintain a combined average monthly balance of $1,500+ in eligible linked accounts. 

2. SoFi

About: SoFi is an online bank headquartered in San Francisco that offers checking, savings, investing products, and more. SoFi has three physical locations in the U.S., but customers have access to a network of over 55,000 ATMs nationwide. Customers can pay bills, find ATMs, send money, make mobile deposits, and more via SoFi’s website and mobile app. 

Bonus: $250
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $0|
APY: 2.50%

Customer support

Customers can request assistance by reaching out to SoFi via phone, chat, email, and even sending general questions to the Twitter account at @SoFiSupport.

Our verdict

Good for those who want to earn interest on their checking account balance. SoFi’s checking account made our list for its short list of requirements to receive a bonus and its APY. For a limited time, the bank is currently offering up to $250 for customers with qualifying direct deposits. If you deposit $5,000 or more, you’ll qualify for the full $250. For direct deposits between $1,000 and $4,999.99, you’ll receive a $50 bonus. You can expect to receive payment within seven business days following the 25-day evaluation period.

3. FNBO Direct 

About: FNBO Direct is an online division of First National Bank of Omaha that offers checking and savings account options without any monthly fees. Both types are interest-earning accounts, and customers can access their funds through FNBO Direct’s large network of fee-free ATMs. 

Bonus: $300–$700
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $0
APY: 0%

Customer support

Representatives are available to assist customers via telephone 24/7, and customers can also contact customer service via email and mail. 

Our verdict

Good for those who need more than just a checking account. FNBO’s checking account made our list for having a competitive bonus, no account fees, and no minimums. For a limited time, new checking account holders can earn up to $700 in bonuses. They’ll earn $300 by opening an FNBO checking account with qualifying direct deposit, and an extra $200 if they open an FNBO savings account following the checking account on the same business day and maintain an average balance of $3,000 for 90 days. What’s more—customers can earn an additional $200 cash bonus when they open an Evergreen® by FNBO Credit Card and spend $1,000 within the first 3 billing cycles after account is opened. Note:  this offer is only valid in FNBO branded branches in CO, IA, IL, KS, NE, SD, TX, and WY. The offer is valid online in CO, IA, IL, KS, NE, SD, MO, and limited areas of TX, WI, and WY.

4. PNC Bank 

About: PNC Bank is headquartered in Pittsburgh and offers a wide range of services for individuals, small businesses, corporations, and government entities. Its product offerings include checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment management services. PNC has more than 2,600 branches and offers customers access to 60,000 fee-free ATMs.

Bonus: $50–$400
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $0
APY: 0%

Customer support

Customer support representatives are available via telephone Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.

Our verdict

Good for those who receive hefty direct deposits each month. PNC’s checking account currently offers customers a bonus of up to $400 for opening a checking and savings account combo. This account does charge a $25 monthly service fee, but it’s possible to waive it so long as you meet certain direct deposit or balance requirements. To qualify for the reward, the new Virtual Wallet must be opened online by 03/31/2023, and a qualifying Direct deposit(s) must be received within the first 60 days. Your Virtual Wallet must remain open in order for you to receive the reward, which will be credited to the eligible account within 60–90 days after all conditions have been met. 

5. Citizens Bank 

About: Citizens Bank is headquartered in Providence, and is one of the oldest banks in the U.S. Its product offerings include savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, student loans, home loans, auto loans, and investment management services. It also offers small business and corporate banking products. Customers can enjoy free withdrawals at any Citizens Bank ATM, plus access to a network of over 2,700 surcharge-free ATMs. For online and mobile-first customers, Citizen’s platforms give them the opportunity to deposit checks, transfer funds, and pay bills without stepping foot in a branch. 

Bonus: $300–$400
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $5
APY: 0%

Customer support

For questions related to your checking account, representatives are available Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, as well as Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. The bank’s website also offers an automated chat feature. 

Our verdict 

Good for those who don’t frequent the ATM. Citizens’ checking account made our list for its up to $400 bonus and low monthly fee, despite not having a large ATM network compared to other financial institutions on our list. Customers who open a new checking account can qualify for a $300 bonus when they open their first new personal checking account and make a direct deposit of $500 or more within 60 days. Those customers can get an additional $100 total in bonuses for every debit card purchase they make within the first 60 days after opening their account. Each purchase will earn them $2, up to $100. This offer expires on Mar. 16, 2023. 

6. One Finance  

About: One Finance is a California-based fintech that offers one primary product—a hybrid checking and savings account known as a “spend” account with “pockets” for savings. One Finance does not have any physical locations, but ATM cash withdrawals are fee-free at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs nationwide for eligible direct deposit customers, receiving $500 or more in qualifying direct deposits in a 31-day period. One Finance’s mobile app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play, although the application has low ratings from Android users. 

Bonus: $25–$35
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $0
APY: 1.00%

Customer support

One offers customer assistance via telephone every day of the week between 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT as well as an automated chat option on the website. 

Our verdict

Good for those who want a no-frills checking account and solid APY. One Finance offers a simplified, digital-first approach to banking. Its spend account doesn’t charge any monthly fees, has no minimum requirement, and no overdraft fees. While this bank offers one of the lowest bonuses out of all the banks we reviewed, it earned a top spot on this list because you can earn 1.00% APY on balances up to $5,000—but if you have eligible direct deposit set up, you can earn that APY on up to $25,000. The current promotion rewards checking account holders with $25 when they receive an eligible direct deposit, and an additional $10 after their first purchase of $10 or more.

7. Huntington National Bank

About: Huntington National Bank was founded in 1866 and is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The bank has a vast network of over 1,000 ATMs and offers a number of personal, business, and commercial banking products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, credit cards, insurance products, and more. 

Bonus: $400–$600
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $10 (can be waived by meeting certain requirements) 
APY: 0.02%

Customer support

Customer service representatives can be reached by phone every day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. Huntington also offers an automated chat feature on its website. 

Our verdict

Good for those who want to keep their personal and business products under one roof. Huntington offers a wide range of products for the everyday consumer that can meet their personal financial needs and business needs. Its current bonus promotion offers $400 for personal account holders who open a Perks Checking account and receive a qualifying direct deposit. Customers with extra funds to stash away can earn up to $600 when they open a Platinum Perks Checking Account, although this requires a $25,000 minimum deposit to earn the bonus. This offer is valid for accounts opened by June 7, 2023. 

8. Citadel Credit Union 

About: Citadel Credit Union is headquartered in Pennsylvania and has over 20 physical branches for East Coast customers. Those who are interested in joining can open an account from anywhere in the U.S. as long as they reside or spend time in the Southeastern Pennsylvania area or have a direct family member who does. Online customers can bank through Citadel’s website or mobile banking platform. 

Bonus: $300
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $10 (can be waived by meeting certain requirements) 
APY: 0.05%

Customer support: Customer service representatives are available via live chat, email, video connect, and phone Monday through Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. 

Our verdict: Good for those who prefer a credit union over a bank. Citadel was the only credit union that made our list; it took the eighth spot for its generous bonus, even though it’s not the highest on our list. Customers who open a free checking or Cashback Rewards checking account can get a $300 cash bonus for qualifying direct deposit(s) totaling $500 or more posting to the new checking account within 60 days of the account opening. Customers must not have closed a Citadel checking account within the last 12 months and/or previously received a checking new account bonus. 

9. TD Bank 

About: TD Bank is one of the 10 largest banks in the United States and serves over 9.8 million customers. TD offers a number of personal, small business, and commercial banking products, as well as investing and wealth management services. 

Bonus: $300–$500
Minimum opening deposit: $0
Monthly fee: $5–$25 (can be waived if certain conditions are met)
APY: 0.01%

Customer support

Customer support specialists can be reached 24/7 via telephone. You can also contact a representative using Facebook Messenger and Twitter direct messages. 

Our verdict 

Good for those who keep a close eye on their account balance. TD’s checking and savings account combo made our list for offering customers an up to $500 bonus. Customers can choose between a TD Beyonc Checking account or a TD Convenience Checking account and earn $200 to $300, or they can supercharge their bonus earnings by choosing one of those accounts and adding a savings account to the mix (either the TD Signature Savings or the TD Simple Savings). The monthly fees you can expect to pay as an account holder will vary depending on the combination of accounts you choose, but all of them can be waived by meeting certain minimum balance requirements . For those interested in this offer, you’ll want to act fast—this offer ends on March 31, 2023. 

10. Axos Bank 

About: Founded in 2000, Axos Bank is a California-based online bank offering numerous account options for individual and business customers. In addition to multiple types of checking accounts including a rewards checking, a money market account, a high-yield savings account, and more, Axos customers can make free withdrawals from their checking account at approximately 91,000 locations across the nation, and banking can be done online and via mobile app, which is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. 

Bonus: $100
Minimum opening deposit: $50
Monthly fee: $0
APY: 1.25%

Customer support

Personal banking customers can call Axos 24/7. The mobile app provides 24/7 chatting with Evo, a virtual financial assistant designed to provide answers to nearly all financial questions. Customers can also send secure messages to the bank through the mobile app. 

Our verdict

Good for those who want a wide range of banking products. Axos Bank’s checking account made our list for its stellar APY and $50 deposit. At 1.25% its Rewards Checking Account offers up to a 1.25% APY for eligible account holders, more than 20 times the national average. To qualify for the $100 cash bonus, account holders must open a new account by 11:59 p.m. PT on Mar. 31, 2023, and have qualifying direct deposit(s) that total at least $1,500 within a single calendar month during the first three (3) calendar months your account is open, including the month in which your account was opened. All eligible awards will be delivered to your Rewards Checking account within 30 days following the 90-day waiting period. And your account must remain open for at least 180 days or an early closure fee of $100 may apply. 

What to know about checking account bonuses 

Checking account bonuses are usually only available for a limited time and tend to come with their own set of requirements that can range from meeting certain opening deposit requirements, maintaining a minimum a higher minimum balance in your account, having a number of direct deposits in your checking account within the first few months of opening your account, and more. 

When selecting a checking account and reviewing any current or ongoing bonus promotions, it’s important to make a mental note of the parameters the bank or credit union has set forth to ensure that you are eligible to receive the bonus. 

You should also expect to receive a tax form if you receive a bonus because that money is considered taxable interest. 

Frequently asked questions

How do checking account bonuses work?

Checking account bonuses are offered by some financial institutions (usually for a limited time) to incentivize new customers to open an account. This usually comes in the form of a cash bonus deposited directly into your account after meeting certain minimum balance, direct deposit, or qualifying purchase requirements. 

Do you pay taxes on bank account bonuses?

Yes. Bank bonuses are taxed. The IRS considers bonuses as taxable interest and will likely send you a Form 1099-INT or Form 1099-OID reporting payments of interest and/or tax-exempt interest of $10 or more. 

Can I close a checking account after receiving a bonus? 

This will depend on your financial institution. Many banks will require that you keep your account open for a certain amount of time. Closing your account early could mean paying an account closure fee or forfeiting your bonus. 

Our methodology 

The Fortune RecommendsTM team compared more than 15 checking accounts across major banks, credit unions, and online-only banks to help you find the highest checking account bonus and the right checking account overall for your financial needs. Our top picks are available to customers across the U.S. no matter where you’re located, subject to the terms of each checking account. 

To determine which account offered the best bonus, among other features, we ranked the best accounts on the following categories and weighted each category as set forth in the percentages below:

  • Bonus amount (50%): Many banks and credit unions offer a cash bonus for opening a new checking account. In some cases, account holders must meet certain balance requirements, sign up for direct deposit, or make a certain number of qualifying purchases using their debit card to qualify. Bonuses are offered for a limited time. We favored checking accounts that offered higher bonuses. 
  • Minimum opening deposit (15%): Some financial institutions require a deposit amount when you open your account. We rate a higher opening deposit as less attractive. 
  • Monthly fees (10%): Some banks charge monthly maintenance fees. We ranked banks with lower (or zero) monthly fees higher on the list.  
  • Annual percentage yield (APY) on your account balance (10%): This percentage represents the real rate of return on your balance; the higher the APY, the better. 
  • Branch and free ATM access (5%): Accounts belonging to financial institutions that have physical branches and a vast ATM network ranked higher on our list than alternatives that were online-only and did not offer ATM access.  
  • Mobile and online banking platforms (5%): Accounts that can be accessed and managed via online or mobile banking platforms scored higher on our list than accounts that did not have digital banking platforms. 
  • Customer service (5%): Top picks offer customers three ways to get in contact: chat support, by phone, or even email. Among the three options, we gave phone support the most weight. 

We think that the best checking accounts offer a lucrative bonus, low or zero monthly service fee, minimum balance requirements, and earn interest on your balance, among other perks. We also ranked accounts with physical branches and free ATM access higher on our list. The bonuses, rates, fees, and minimum balance requirements on these checking accounts are available for limited time periods, and APYs are subject to fluctuation, which could impact how much interest you earn. All the banks and credit unions on this list are insured by the FDIC and NCUA respectively.

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EDITORIAL DISCLOSURE: The advice, opinions, or rankings contained in this article are solely those of the Fortune Recommends editorial team. This content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of our affiliate partners or other third parties.