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

Published on August 2nd, 2015 | by William Charles

56

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!



56 Responses to How Many Bank Accounts Can I Safely Open Within A Year For Bank Bonus Purposes?

  1. Steve says:

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

  2. gary says:

    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

  3. Trumpercharlie says:

    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.

  4. David says:

    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.

    • Yes it’s definitely a case of YMMV based on the bank, some banks only run ChexSystems for true signs of fraud – others also check # of inquiries. We’ve listed the banks which are more inquiry sensitive on that introduction to ChexSystems post. Under 10 applications a year should be fine or almost all banks though, which is why we gave that number.

  5. Grant says:

    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 🙂

    • Haha, not directed at you but I’m so glad you’re finally on the bank bonus train – even if it took like a year after I did a guest post on your site about them! There is no hard and fast rule, I just say under 10 because that’s when people seem to usually start having troubles. BofA biz checking is a must do IMO. Easy $1k!

      • Grant says:

        Right now, I am waiting on these bank account bonuses to post:

        * Citigold Interest Checking (opened 3/11/2015) – waiting for 40,000 Citi TYPs

        * Chase Total Checking (opened 7/13/2015) – waiting for $300 bonus

        * Discover Cash Back Checking (opened 7/18/2015) – waiting for $50 bonus

        * Bank of America Core Checking (opened 7/22/2015) – waiting for 25,000 AS miles

        * US Bank SMART Savings (opened 7/1/2015) – waiting for $50 VGC

        Completed bank account bonus:

        * US Bank Interest Checking (opened 7/1/2015) – $125 bonus posted on 7/21/2015

        Future bank accounts to open:

        * Provident Credit Union Super Rewards Checking – $150 bonus

        * BMO Harris Select Checking – $200 bonus

        * Bank of America Business Advantages Checking – $1,000 bonus

        How am I doing so far?

        • Your Chase checking account bonus should have posted by now, it posts the Tuesday after the direct deposit requirement is met (assuming you’ve done the direct deposit) if you don’t receive it by the end of today – try some other ACH transfers! Otherwise looks good, I would have passed on Discover but depends if you like the 10c/20c bonuses per transaction as well.

          • Grant says:

            I added my Chase Total Checking to my ADP direct deposit form, so I should get the first DD on 8/15 and another on 8/30. I guess the ADP system didn’t go through on 7/15 or 7/31.

            I am trying a $2,000 ACH from Citi to BofA to count toward the DD requirement. Hopefully that works 🙂

  6. jack says:

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

  7. jeffrey says:

    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

  8. Mad Queen Linda says:

    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.

  9. Mad Queen Linda says:

    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.

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  11. Jay says:

    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?

  12. Jan B says:

    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.

  13. John says:

    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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  18. adam d says:

    Data Point:

    In the last 12 months I opened 9 accounts so far, closed one(chase-no bonus) and re-opened (chase – bonus). Of those 9, I opened 6 in the past 8 weeks, Ive tried to space them out a week or so each to avoid possible fraud denial. So far I’m at $1550 with bonuses from the 7 accounts I’ve opened strictly for the bonuses.

    List of accounts in chronological order:

    tcf bank 4/15 – no bonus
    fidelity 10/15 – no bonus
    first tennesse – 1/16 – $250 bonus
    chase -3/16 – $300 bonus
    talmer bank 3/16 – $250 bonus
    citibank 3/16 – $300 bonus (targeted, dividend card)
    northpointe 3/16 $100 bonus
    santander 3/16 – $150 bonus
    5/3rd bank – 4/16 – $200 bonus

    previous to last year i had same chase account for over 3 years.
    plan to open bmo,tech cu, and associate bank to clear a cool $2000 in bonuses, Ill check back in since im a checking account approval guinea pig at this point.

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  27. GRR says:

    $4,525 in bonuses at 17 banks, no hard pulls, only 3 done in branch, no ChexSystems rejections, bought 2 Ebay coupons

    I keep track of bonuses by using a site aggregator, rename the accounts with essential info of bonus, and keep this description even when I close the account. Makes for easy reference when I churn.

    Sample Bank-LoginPW-Cls3/15/2017.6mo-2kDD60days-kp1kNoFees-B$200

    Translated – The date to close the account, which is 6 months out (avoid early closure), Bonus requirements (2k DD in 60 days), Maintenance requirement of $1000 to avoid fees, Bonus is $200

    Descending value
    $400 Citibank 9/13/2016
    $350 HSBC 4/21/2016
    $300 TD Bank 8/24/2016
    $300 SunEast FCU 3/4/2016
    $300 KeyBank 12/20/2016
    $300 Bank Of America 1/29/2016
    $300 Chase Checking 5/24/2016
    $300 PNC 5/3/2016
    $250 First Tennessee 1/29/2016
    $225 Santander 11/01/2016
    $200 Chase Savings 7/26/2016
    $200 Huntington 12/20/2016
    $200 First Niagara 2/26/2016
    $200 BMO Harris 5/17/2016
    $200 Penn Community —–
    $150 US Bank 9/6/2016
    $150 M&T Bank 3/11/2016
    $100 Discover 7/26/2016
    $100 PNC [in branch extra] 5/4/2016

    I avoid banks with hard pulls and tend towards banks which allowing avoiding fees via balances versus activities such as debit card or activity transactions. Jump on a bonus the moment it posts since some doors close quickly. If I have to go in branch, I always ask kindly if there are any promotions for bringing a new account.

    • Gadget says:

      I am ballpark where you are bonus-wise and number of banks. I started hitting this hard back in June 2016. I can tell you are in PA, as I live in VA and KeyBank and Huntington are just outside service area and I have seen their deals online (and I drool for Regions bank promos just to the South). I did manage to get Chase checking deal while out of state, but passed on the savings bonus as tying up 15K for $200 is not a great deal.

      I too use a site aggregator as well (YodleeLabs), because without one you would spend a lot of time logging in and out to check on transfers and ACH test deposits. I keep a hack-proof paper notebook with full routing & account numbers, ATM & telephone PIN’s, and open and close dates. Also, a spreadsheet with all the useful “T&C” data you use in your string plus the results – ACH dates, requirement fulfilled dates, expected payout date, actual payout date (because sometimes I do forget if a bonus has been paid) and suggested/actual close date. I highlight the entry once they have paid out, then move them to completed once they are closed and completely drained of all usefulness.

      I too like banks that i can just place some money in to avoid fees, instead of juggling activities that can be time critical, but sometimes that’s not an option. I did one CU bonus that was a hard pull – I think an occasional hard pull isn’t that detrimental, and I’m not much of a CC churner as it seems the best deals are for travelers… which still costs money once you get there.

      I did get rejected by two banks – Sandy Spring Bank – said it was “mainly” because I was outside their service area, and Quorum FCU due to “underwriting criteria”. Other than that, the vast majority of banks do not care about Chex or EWS inquiries – they just look for derogatory remarks. My advice – keep a hub account or two open always and forever (Discover and a VA credit union for me), and a local brick and mortar for those teller and notary or other in-bank services you might use occasionally or on short notice, and close all the others when no longer viable. (I have yet to find a perfect hub account, but that’s another story, for another post, and another very long, incomplete, Doc article)

      Keeping good records I have found is important – One: for future churning potential. Two: Errors and account questions. Example: Citibank sent me a notice a few weeks ago for being overdrawn and saying they were going to send it to collections if I didn’t remit like $60 bucks immediately. My jaw dropped! Based on the statement they sent, I could see that they charged the monthly fee sometime AFTER I closed the account because the min. balance was no longer in the account, and then charged an overdrawn fee too. I referred back to my spreadsheet and knew I had closed the account, but without my data, I wouldn’t be able to tell exactly when because the account had already fallen off my Citi login. The CSR did not properly close the account originally, and it was corrected with a simple phone call, but the 1st question I got was “when did I call to close?” Bam – data to the rescue. They looked at the account notes for that day and it was all better.

      • MM Austin says:

        Amazing. I have been reading about Bank Bonuses only for the last few weeks. got $300 for my chase checking in 3/16 and my wife got $300 for her chase checking in 5/16. (Missed additional $200 because we did not do an ACH or Salary to her account). That is score so far. But from the above Posts I am getting inspired to try this out, in addition to the CC Bonus Points game (Pretty successful in that scored value of over $4000 in the last 2 years).

        Thank You all for sharing your DP. and Thanks DoC for such valuable info on this website.

    • Jenny says:

      Wow! Do you suppose I could open these accounts, one for me and one for my husband and double the haul?

  28. Hanna says:

    Does it hurt your credit or track record at all to get declined for an account? Or can you just keep going until you eventually start getting declined?

  29. Curmudgeon says:

    I just started doing these bonuses in August 2016:

    8/16 – 12/16: Opened 12 accounts
    So far in 2017: 7 opened, 4 planned

    Only rejection I’ve had was Bancorp South who opened my account, then closed it because I lived “too far” from a branch.

    I finally got my wife interested, so she’s opened 5 so far this year with 4 planned.

    My 2016 bonuses are now fully paid out and I earned $2,125. For 2017 I’m expecting a bit over $5,000 just for the accounts my wife and I have opened, or plan to open by the end of February. And to think, we still have 10 months to go!

    I track all of my bonuses in a spreadsheet so I can keep on top of open/close dates, actions to meet bonus, ways to avoid monthly fee, which other banks I’ve set up transfer access to, etc.

    Thanks DoC!

    • Big thanks goes to you Curm, you’ve been awesome at finding bonuses so far!

      • lingua says:

        Yes, thanks Curm!!

        Speaking of spouses, I haven’t seen any comments regarding calling in for one’s spouse. Actually, there was one who said he calls in and because they are Hindu they can’t distinguish versus male or female names.

        On this point, can banks/cards actually ask you whether you are male or female. I have some experience calling in for my wife, since she has limited time, but I do have a sudden change of voice tone…Was only pressed on it, with verification questions, once when a CSR asked me “how old does that make you” after giving d.o.b. and there was a long pause till I could do the math!

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  36. roger says:

    how to get invites from capital one and hsbc as they say the offers are all personalized?

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