Published on December 29th, 2014 | by William Charles10
[IL, MI, OH, PA, WI only] First Merit Bank $150 Checking Bonus
Offer at a glance
- Maximum bonus amount: $150
- Availability: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin only
- Direct deposit required: Optional
- Additional requirements: See below
- Hard/soft pull: Soft
- Credit card funding: Yes, up to $10,000
- Monthly fees: None
- Early account termination fee: $25 if closed within 90 days. Need to keep account open for a full year to get bonus.
- Expiration date: None listed
- Earn up to $150 for participating in select services with First Merit. You also need to enroll in the FirstMerit Shop and Earn program ($1 per month but can be cancelled when requirements are met). Services are as follows:
- Bill Pay. Pay three bills per month for the first three months
- Direct Deposit. Make two direct deposits of $250 or more per month for two consecutive months
- Paperless statements. Sign up for paperless statements and receive them for two consecutive months
- The amount you’ll earn depends on how many of the above services you enroll in and complete the requirements.
- One service: $25
- Two services: $75
- Three services: $150
The Fine Print
- Bonus is payable 30 days after your account anniversary date
- You must enroll in the qualifying services within 90 days of account opening
- This offer is available on all the checking accounts
- All bank account bonuses are treated as income/interest and as such you have to pay taxes on them
You’ll receive $10 for everybody you refer to First Merit bank. It looks like you can combine that with this $150 checking promotion, but make sure you double check. More information here.
The easiest way to avoid monthly fees is to open a Reality checking account which does not come with any. There is an early account termination fee of $25 if you close the account within 90 days, but you’d need to keep it open for at least that long to avoid any early account termination fees according to this fee schedule.
If your account does not have any activity on it for 90 days or more, you’ll be charged a $25 fee. So it’s important you have some activity on the account to avoid this.
The worst part of this bonus is that it requires you to keep the account open for a year + 30 days to actually get the bonus. If we had some data points on what triggered the direct deposit requirement, it might be worth it but at the moment I’d put this into the too hard basket.
This is especially true when you consider the other better bonuses out there. The only redeeming feature for this account is the credit card funding, but we’re not sure how much you can actually fund and whether it will be coded as a cash advance or not. If you have any experience with this bank, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
In the meantime we’ve added this to our list of state specific checking promotions.