Posted by Chuck on July 4, 2018
Checking Accounts

Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Chuck


Elements Financial $200 Checking Bonus & 2% APY Rewards Checking on up to $20,000 – Nationwide

Update 07/12/18: looks like the Trudirection work around is no longer working.

Update 07/04/18: Reposting with instructions on how to bypass the ChexSystems sensitivity as it seems to be reliably working. Keep in mind it isn’t working for everybody still, there are quite a few denial data points in the comments below.

Update 3/19/18: The $200 signup bonus is back, see below. 

Offer at a glance

  • Maximum bonus amount: 2% APY
  • Availability: Nationwide
  • Additional requirements: 15 transactions
  • Hard/soft pull: Soft
  • ChexSystems: Yes (note: they are Chex sensitive). See how to avoid the sensitivity below.
  • Credit card funding: None
  • Monthly fees: None with e-statements
  • Early account termination fee: Bonus forfeit if closed within six months (should not affect 2% APY rate)
  • Insured: NCUA

The Offer

Direct Link to offer

  • Element Financial Credit Union offers a rewards checking with a 2% APY rate on balances up to $20,000

To be eligible for the 2% rate:

  • You must have at least 15 transaction on the account each month; this includes the following: debit card purchases, checks, bill payments, ATM withdrawals
  • You must have a balance of $100 or more

$200 Bonus

There’s also a $200 bonus for opening up the checking account if you use promo code: CHECK200

Direct Link

The promo page is for State of Indiana employees and family members, but readers note they got the bonus by using the promo code despite not being an employee or family so it might work for anyone. Other readers signed up first for a savings account, and got the $200 sent their way via email.

The only requirement mentioned is that you get a $500 recurring monthly direct deposit within 60 days of checking account opening and submission of applicable promo code at application.

See what counts as direct deposit here.

Avoiding ChexSystems Sensitivity

Looks like the Trudirection work around is no longer working

Keep in mind it isn’t working for everybody still, there are quite a few denial data points in the comments below. 

This bank is very sensitive when it comes to having too many ChexSystems inquiries and will deny people if this is the case. There is a way around this thankfully (and this works even if you’ve previously been denied for an account. You just need to apply again). Here’s what you need to do:

  • Join TruDirection for $5 (this needs to be done directly through the TruDirection website).
  • During the application process indicate you are a TruDirection Member

For more information, read helpful comments by Josh, Casey & Gadget.

The Fine Print

  • Annual Percentage Yield is variable and may change after account is opened. APY is 2.00% on balances up to $20,000, 0.10% on balances greater than $20,000.
  • Dividends will be paid per statement cycle requirement.
  • At least one accountholder must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must maintain a minimum average daily balance of $100 to earn dividends. Accounts not meeting the qualifying threshold will earn 0.05% APY.
  • One product offer of each type per household.

Avoiding Fees

To save yourself from the $5 monthly fee, be sure to enroll in e-statements. You need to keep the account open for six months to avoid forfeiting the bonus.

Membership Requirements

The credit union is available to anyone nationwide. Most people will only be eligible to join the credit union by paying a $5 fee to Tru Direction.

Our Verdict

This isn’t the best rewards checking account but the $200 bonus makes it worth signing up for. Because of that I will be adding this to our list of the best checking account bonuses. Elements also has a number of credit cards that offer a $300 cash bonus.

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Last year they ran a promotion for a 2% APY money market account, no hoops to jump through, and no limits on the balance that earns at that APY.

It was for new customers, namely state employees but there was no verification of employment. I was a state employee at the time anyway. Would have mentioned if I know about DOC back then! I’m still getting my 2% so I’ve been very happy.

They have a decent mobile app for depositing checks too.

I sent in info on this bank about a month or so ago. There was a bank bonus too for the checking account. Not sure if it’s still around now. The bank bonus was paid out very quickly!!

How much was the bonus? Does anyone else know if it’s still available?

Bonus was for $200. Promo code is: CHECK200

Required a $500 direct deposit (Goldman Sachs bank account worked for me.) I don’t see an expiration date listed in the email, so you may wish to try it.

I should just note that I am not an IN employee (or related to one) and successfully received the bonus.

Most people just want $200 bonus, not APY 2%, So the only requirement is to DD $500+ within 60 days and apply CHECK200 promo code. There is no $100 minimum balance. The additional req. is for APY 2%. Then one need maintain $100 balance and 15 tran each month. When I click Direct Link I did not see 15 Tran requirement to get APY 2%. Is this offer one per household? When the offer end? Aug 31, 2018?
Thanks in advance.

When applying, did any of you receive instant approval? For me, it says that a team member will be reviewing my application and that I should receive a response within one business day. Does this likely mean I am going to be denied? I do not live in Indiana either. Pretty much just taking a chance with this promo and hoping for the best.


were you able to open the account? i got the same response when i submitted the app

When I applied, I was granted the Savings account, but denied the credit card. So, I then applied for the Checking account to at least get the free Equifax 08 credit score.

I’ve received the debit card for the Checking account, but apparently they don’t send a book of checks unless you request them. However, I still cant get a FICO score from them, so I don’t know how long it will be before they generate one that I can see.

@EO – Where do you live?

I’m not an IN employee either and got the $200 bonus. I live in GA.

I live in Chicago

Did you guys sign up for Tru DIrection then?

You are the one that opened many M&T accounts, correct? If so, did you open this account before or after those were added to your Chex report. I’m trying to figure out if they are very Chex sensitive or not.

Does a credit card withdrawing money from your checking account count toward the 15 transactions? Does Elements limit you to 6 withdrawals per month?

The 6 max withdrawals only apply to savings accounts, and this is a checking account.

That’s not true. I have a checking account with All America and they limit me to 6 withdrawals per month or there is a fee.

The 6 withdrawal limit is a federal regulation, and it’s only imposed on savings accounts. And looking at the All American website they only advertise the limit for their savings account. What would be the point of a checking account that limited you to only 6 transactions a month? I think you’re mistaken, but if you can prove me wrong please do.

I realize now that I should have added the word “free” in my initial question.

Do you have this account? If so, do you know the answers to my other questions?

That’s a money market account, and it’s totally different from a checking account. Basically it’s a savings account with an ATM/debit card. I don’t know why they call it a checking account though since the government considers all money market accounts savings accounts.

But no, I don’t have this account. I would love to know the answer to your question though, as I’ve opened quite a few accounts recently and most were from M&T. I tried with KeyBank recently and was denied with only 6 new accounts in the past 12 months at the time. This was before the M&T gravy train.

My guess is they call it a checking account because we can write checks from it. I’ve never had a savings account that had checks.

What I don’t understand is why you refer to it as a “savings” account. The bank calls it a checking account and it behaves like a checking account (debit card, checks. etc.) except for the fact that they charge a fee with more than 6 transactions.

That’s why I wanted to know if this account behaves like my AA account or like my NP account. Unfortunately, no one responded even though I’m positive that others know the answer.

Even though we had a slight disagreement here (mostly on semantics) I appreciate that you seem to always respond to others when you are asked questions. I always try to do the same as I hate to be on the other side.

In the government’s eyes it is a regulated savings account. That is why I call it a savings account. A Money Market is simply a savings account you can write checks from. It has the same limit of 6 withdrawals per month.

How long did it take for the bonus to be paid out from the time your DD posted? Did you just do a single DD of 500? Thanks!

I made a single direct deposit (via Goldman Sachs savings account) of slightly over $500 on 4/4/17. Bonus of $200 was deposited on 4/6/17 as “dividend adjustment.” Note that it was deposited into my savings account, which I had to open when I opened checking account. I was able to then immediately transfer $200 into checking account.


thanks for posting this. i didn’t realize my bonus had posted b/c it was in my savings!

Question: did you get the $200 bonus without fulfilling the 10 debits or whatever’s required for the 2% APY? I don’t care about the 2% APY, but i want the $200 – do i need to bother with the other hoop-jumping?

How soon was yours paid out? I pushed 500 into the checking account via ACH and it posted on the 15th. However, the bonus has not been deposited into my member savings account, yet. Did you use a real direct deposit? Also, did you input your actual job info (in Georgia) when you applied for this account/promotion? Thanks!

My bad…my question was meant for Kelly, but anyone with data points are welcome to chime in!

The bonus posted quickly. I used an employee direct deposit, however, after looking back at the dp I got the bonus before my direct deposit was made through employer. I assume it was from the ACH push from discover bank that I made.

3/22 ACH push from discover bank
3/28 bonus posted
3/31 employer direct deposit

Can confirm that an ACH push from discover bank worked for me as well.

did it code as p2p? i’m also trying a Discover Savings push.

Yes, the transfer was listed this way:

External Deposit [my name] ONLNE TRNSFR[random #’s] – P2P

amazing, thanks so much. fingers crossed… will update if/when my bonus clears as well.

Transferred from Discover on 6/4 and haven’t seen the bonus yet. Anyone has the same issue?

I transferred on 6/8 and haven’t got the bonus yet. I will try another deposit method in case it doesn’t go through.

Any luck yet?

Does Amazon Payments work? / Did your discover account work?

And are you located in IN?

Any luck yet?


skolkjer Thanks so much for this, thats exactly how my ach,’s posted, and i was thinking it didnt count because it had my name, and online trnsfr, and p2p. It also had the string of numbers too, same format as yours, but i was for sure thst it wasnt going to work, since it doesnt look like an actual dir dep.
I had been searching for data point formsts, and im not sure how i missed your post, but since mine are identical to yours, im confident now that i will get the bonus. Thanks again!

I recently pulled my Chex report and have a lot of DPs. Here’s one: I first opened a Members Savings account (Chex inquiry). Then got invited to open a Checking account for a $200 promo. Opened it, and another Chex inquiry.

Is there credit card funding for this? Need to finish off CI Pref.

This account cannot be funded with a credit card.

Also, ACH withdrawals count toward the 15 qualifying transactions

You just answered one of my questions. Do you know the answers to my other questions?

Does Elements limit you to 6 free withdrawals per month?

Do they seem to be Chex sensitive?

I think this credit union is Chex sensitive. They required me to send them a copy of my driver’s license and a utility bill when I opened the account. See comment below for a response to your other question..

Thanks for the responses.

How many accounts had you opened in the past 6 and 12 months when you applied?

Hey Eric,

I think you may be referring to “Regulation D” with your question about Elements limiting accounts to 6 withdrawals per month. That Federal Reserve Board regulation only applies to savings and money market accounts. Elements states that the high interest checking account offers “unlimited transactions” and there’s no mention of fees being applied in response to a high volume of transactions. If anything, Elements seems to be encouraging account holders to make numerous withdrawals by categorizing that activity as a “qualifying transaction” needed to meet to requirements to earn the 2% APY.

By the way Elements has a bill pay feature which allows you to set up recurring bill payments. In theory one could use this feature to automate ongoing small payments to one’s credit card(s) in order to meet the monthly 15 transaction minimum.
Mike A

Charles Chang

Declined because of Chex score is too low. Not sure how low though

Did they actually say that was the reason?

How many accounts had you opened in the past 6 and 12 months when you applied?

Charles Chang

Yes, they did.

Elements Financial uses an overall qualifying score, Chex Systems, and several other identity verification systems as our guideline for granting membership. Unfortunately, your score was not sufficient to join Elements Financial at this time.

Can’t remember how many I opened, but the last one was quroum back in Jan. Requested a chex report and see how that many I have.

Hey Charles,

Perhaps it was for the best that you didn’t open an account with Elements Financial. If you had opened an account with those Chex inquires then your account would likely have been flagged as potential identity theft which can make for an ugly banking experience. Elements Financial has a hyper vigilant fraud team that will freeze or shut down your account with no advance notice. Within two days of my account being opened it was frozen because the future dated bill payments I set up and the incoming transfer from a recently opened external bank account triggered identity theft flags. Even though I spoke to a fraud investigator and supposedly had my account cleared, the funds are still frozen almost a week later. I regret opening an account with a credit union which has so far treated me like a criminal.

Charles Chang

Thanks for sharing your story! That is truly annoying.

I did receive a second email saying their decision was based on:
Key factor(s) in our decision (which may be a result of conflicting information):
* We could not validate your identity
* We could not validate your address
*The social security number you provided could not be verified
* Other:
* This decision was not based on a credit report, but rather your application was incomplete or we obtained information from an outside source other than a consumer reporting agency. You have a right to receive the nature of this information if you make a written request to us no later than 60 days after you receive this notice.

with so much conflicting information, I think I’d better off with this CU

How many accounts did you end up having on the report?

I was not aware that Chex uses a numerical scoring system.

Has anyone opened one of these accounts with many Chex inquiries?

also curious…

I was just rejected with cited reason being Chex. I’ve opened more than 6 in last six months.

Chuck: You mentioned that this will be added to the best bank bonuses page, but i don’t see it there. FYI

I don’t see anything about an early termination fee. Does anyone know how long the account has to be kept open?

Got the bonus! Nowhere near the supposedly targeted area. Took about 5 business days after ach push from cap one 360. Best of luck!

Will be using CapOne 360 for this. Thx for DP

Did you send your DD to checking or savings?

did you also bother meeting the requirements for 2%? I don’t want to bother with the debits, if i don’t have to. I just want the $200.


What are the requirements to only get the $200? I can’t seem to find it anywhere. thanks

Anyone know anything about the early termination fee? Thanks.

I don’t do the deals for credit unions. If I open an account at a credit union is not just to grab the bonus. Somehow i do not see them same as banks. What about you, do you see any difference?

Are you trying to say that banks deserve to get screwed over but credit unions don’t?

they have it easier than banks, they use a government tax loophole to their advantage that in reality they shouldnt even qualify for. They are also playing the game, leave emotions behind when entering this scene.


+1 for real, i take advantage of all promos set before me!!

A hard pull that shows up on Chex is under the “Inquiries Initiated By Consumer Action”, right?

There’s also a section called “Inquiries Not Initiated By Consumer Action”. Which one of these are soft/hard?

the one initiated by consumer is hard pull, the other is soft

Anyone closed an account with this CU? Do you know if it can be done by SM?

For those of you that got denied by chex, did it do it instantly? After I applied my application said it would be reviewed.

Also does it matter how you open the accounts for the bonus? I opened the savings first but it won’t let me open the checking until my savings is reviewed.

Did you get up getting approved? How many accounts have you opened in the past 6 and 12 months?

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