Posted by William Charles on August 2, 2015
Questions & Answers

Published on August 2nd, 2015 | by William Charles


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!

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Thanks! This is a question I’ve always had in the back of my mind.

i’ve been getting declined by several banks when doing online apps. One bank rep i spoke with after being declined told me that their online system will automatically decline if chex show too many inquiries. he didnt specify how many is too many but i have had about 8 in the past year. He then said if i come in person and bring my id they can open the account. Unfortunately that defeated the purpose of opening it online as i was funding it with a credit card and if i went in person they dont fund accounts that way


Agree with Gary above, recently was declined by PNC online, although suspect it was because system wasn’t able to ID me. Went to a branch and opened an account up fine. And agree with DoC above 10 is okay, I usually do that in a year with no problems.

I think this is going to be a case of YMMV. Most banks don’t really care, but I do remember one deal where lots of people were getting turned down for this reason. Best thing to do is to just check a thread on a bank deal before applying.

Was this question directed at me, because it seemed like just the question I wanted to ask. I have opened 5 new checking accounts in the last month and am always looking (on DOC) for the next next bank account bonus. I have the BofA Biz Checking and BMO Harris checking account on my radar. I haven’t had any issues applying online except for US Bank, which I had to do in branch. It takes so long to apply in branch, that is my biggest annoyance. Any advice for a new bank account bonus obsessed reader like myself?? Thank you Will for all your wisdom over the last few years 🙂

Are prepaid amex target/serve/bluebird showing up on chexSystems ?

Hey guys, i am curious about opening business checking accounts. Is the process any different compared to a personal checking account? Do I have to show proof of being a business owner or supply an EIN(employee identification number)?

I have never opened a business checking account or business credit card. I have, however, recently learned that opening a business cc is quite easy and usually a social security number is accepted in place of the EIN number

Mad Queen Linda

Timely question and answer for me since I’m just moving into this arena after starting with credit card bonuses to fund travel. I rec’d my $125 from USBank and am working on M&T and Citigold. Thanks for sharing your expertise via clear and simple instructions.

Mad Queen Linda

This is a timely question for me. I just received my first bank bonus of $125 from USBank thanks to you, Dr. I’ve just started working this bank bonus arena after learning a few ropes with credit card bonuses to facilitate my travel needs. I’m waiting for the M&T bonus and working through the Citigold requirements. Next up, Sun Trust. Thanks very much for clear, understandable instructions.

Is it one inquiry per checking AND savings account?

For example I just opened a Chase checking and savings account to get the $500 bonus

Also just opened a Technology Credit Union Checking account for the $150 bonus. During the process was forced to open their Savings account, was told this is mandatory when I called in.

So does this mean I now have 4 inquiries on my Chexsystems reporT?

I just opened an account at a manufacturing plant affiliated credit union with open membership access. Unfortunately, I found a hard pull from them recorded on my Credit Sesame account. Was told it would be a soft pull. Disappointing.

I opened a checking account there to park some nominal funds into a promo CD with 5.0% APR for 12 months. And, to establish a history with them to help my DD buy a car at a special 1.99% APR.

Thanks! I don’t know how I missed this post a few months ago.

One of the most strikingly helpful observations (for me) is when you write:

“… if a [bank] account has been opened more than one year, they usually consider that not to be fraudulently opened and thus of no concern.”

So in other words, the figure of “ten per year” is actually ten accounts that you closed fairly soon after opening them. But if you keep it open for at least a year, then it does not count as one of the ten.

Am I hearing you right?

If so, that is really good to know. I was just about (tonight!) to close my MySavingsDirect account, which I opened 7 months ago. But if I am understanding you right, there’s a real advantage in keeping it open for another 6 months. Likewise my Discover accounts (savings and checking) will drop off my “ten” list once they’ve been open for a year. Etc.

It would also be one more reason to downgrade your Citigold checking to Citibasic after you get your bonus. Downgrade to Citi basic, set up the ACH to waive the monthly fee, and then close it 13 months after you opened the Citigold. It will then not count as one of your 10 bank accounts.

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