Published on August 2nd, 2015 | by William Charles53
How Many Bank Accounts Can I Safely Open Within A Year For Bank Bonus Purposes?
Thanks to your site I’ve started to open a few bank accounts so I can receive the sign up bonus associated with it. I’ve probably opened 4-5 within the past six or seven months, I’m just wondering if I am signing up for too many or if I can push it and sign up for more than this? What is considered ‘safe’?
Thanks for the compliment and always glad to see more people getting into bank account bonuses. Most financial institutions won’t do a hard pull on your normal credit reports (e.g Experian, Equifax or TransUnion) when opening a bank account (you can see a full list of companies that do/don’t do a hard pull here) – but they will pull your ChexSystems report.
I’m going to assume that you’re only opening bank accounts that don’t do a hard pull on your regular credit report (you’ll get better value by signing up for a credit card instead), so I’ll focus on ChexSystems only. ChexSystems is a national consumer reporting agency, your ChexSystems report contains information regarding your history with deposit accounts (e.g savings & checkings account).
Unlike other consumer reporting agencies, ChexSystems reports only contain negative (overdrafting) or neutral information (opening new accounts). Around 80% of all credit unions/banks use ChexSystems, although more and more financial institutions are moving away from it as it creates significant amounts of people to become unbanked or underbanked.
Basically when a bank looks at your ChexSystems report, they are checking to see if you’ve had any significant issues with deposit accounts in the past. Such as:
- Unsatisfied balances
- Check overdrafts
- Depositing fraudulent checks
- Suspicious account behavior reported by other banks (e.g possible structuring)
These negative items will stay on your report for five years before falling off. The other thing banks check for is the amount of new inquiries you’ve had on your report, typically a high amount of new inquiries is indicative of fraud so financial institutions will automatically deny you. Some financial institutions are more strict about this than others, but in my experience it’s generally OK to open 10 or less bank accounts each year (if an account has been opened more than one year, they usually consider that not to be fraudulently opened and thus of no concern).
If you want to learn more about ChexSystems, I’d strongly recommend you read our introduction here. We also list some financial institutions that are more inquiry sensitive than others. If you’re worried about opening too many accounts, make sure you do the bonuses that we recommend first.
If you’ve got a question that you want answer, go and ask it over here. We’ll either reply there or do a dedicated post like this one!