Posted by William Charles on October 6, 2018
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on October 6th, 2018 | by William Charles


[MD, DC & VA only] Sandy Spring Bank $150 Checking Bonus

Bonus is back for 2018. Hat tip to reader YAR.

Offer at a glance

  • Maximum bonus amount: $150
  • Availability: MD, DC & VA only
  • Direct deposit required: Yes, $300+
  • Additional requirements: eStatements & debit card transactions
  • Hard/soft pull: Soft
  • ChexSystems: Yes,  according to this comment they are sensitive to too many frequent inquiries. Other datapoints below indicate they are not.
  • Credit card funding: Up to $250, Visa or Mastercard only 
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Early account termination fee: $25, 180 days
  • Household limit: None
  • Expiration date: February 28th, 2017 May 31st, 2017 October 31st, 2018

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Open a new checking account with Sandy Spring Bank and receive a bonus of $150 when you complete the following requirements:
    • Receive a direct deposit of $300+ within 45 days of account opening. Then continue to receive a monthly direct deposit of at least $300 for 4 months


The Fine Print

  • Open any checking account (excluding Student Banking) online or mention the offer when you call our client service center or visit our community offices between September 1, 2018 and October 31, 2018.
  • Establish direct deposit of at least $300 within 45 days of account opening from a paycheck, pension, social security or other regular monthly income electronically deposited. Transfers from one account to another or deposits made at the branch or ATM do not qualify as direct deposits. Then continue to receive a monthly direct deposit of at least $300 for 4 months.
  • Limited time offer available only to individuals who currently do not have a personal checking account with Sandy Spring Bank or have not had one within the last 90 days.
  • Offer subject to change and cancellation without notice and cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Only one bonus per individual.
  • Bonus will be deposited within 150 days of account opening, into the checking account meeting the bonus requirements.
  • Accounts must be in good standing.
  • All applicable taxes are the sole responsibility of the recipient.

Avoiding Fees

The my free banking account has no monthly fee and also no monthly minimums. According to this comment the early account termination fee is $25 if the account is closed within 180 days.

Our Verdict

Previous years it required no direct deposit, or only a direct deposit for one month. This new offer requires it for 5 months. It’s at least better than the $10 monthly bonus they offered earlier in the year. It sucks that this bank is inquiry sensitive, because this is actually a pretty good bonus.I guess if you don’t have too many inquiries on your ChexSystems report then this is worth it, otherwise you’ll most likely be denied. As always please share your datapoints in the comments below. Might add it to our best checking sign up promo page if we can get some more datapoints on how sensitive they are to inquiries.

Big thanks to reader, Curmudgeon & Fork who let us know. Please consider sharing bank bonuses with this site so we can make it even better.

Useful posts regarding bank bonuses:

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Can I drive to MD and apply in branch? I live in PA.

On their last promotion I applied, and they denied me after account opening; they processed my CC opening deposit and sent me a cashiers check with a fairly generic rejection letter. When I called, said rejection was “mostly” because I was out of their service area (within the same state, but I am maybe 100 miles to nearest branch), and also I had too many Chex inquires within the same period. I couldn’t get them to define the period or the number of inquires that would be acceptable.

Gadget, how did you ask for the refund check for the initial deposit? I had the same experience but haven’t received the check for 10 days, neither the letter for the denial reason. The nearest bank near me is 89 miles away.

I just opened an account with this bank. First, I just applied online and got denied. Then I came to branch and the manager realized that my application was denied because I had too many inquiries. However, she overwrote the warning and approved my application.

Remember to metion about this promo because they are having different promos. And they also have bonus for referral, which is additional bonus. Both get $25. Let me know if anyone wants to get this.

Hi Dean,
I am interested in your referral code. I will make a good test subject for this bonus, as I have a medium-low number of Chexsystem inquiries (2 bank accounts in 2015, 2 Netspend cards in 2015, 1 bank account in July 2016, and Wells Fargo about 10 days ago). I will report back with my results.

Did you see a place to input the referral code, or do you think I will have to open the account in a branch?

Please send the referral to:
monetarydragon A T gmail D_O_T com

Thank you!

I just opened the account in branch without any difficulties. I had planned to use Dean’s referral (see above), but there was a limit of one promotion per account, and obviously the purpose is the $150.

I suggest that anyone who is on the fence regarding Chexsystem inquiries go for it.

I have probably 10-15+ Chex queries and applied anyway. Last page gave me my account number, so I’m guessing I’m approved? I funded $250 with Citi Doublecash (pending purchase). I’ll report back if they close the account.

I’m in much the same place wrt Chex inquiries, and also received an account number immediately. Set up online banking and signed up for estatements about 10 minutes later.

Everything seems to be set, but I’ll have to wait until (I guess) June sometime to start being careful about transactions. I figure I’ll do 1 or 2 monthly in the meantime so as not to feel like a complete bonus-chasing jerk 😎

Funded with Fidelity 2% Visa.

How were you able to set up online banking? I can’t get it working.

I don’t recall anything tricky about it. Maybe I had to have the account number, which I had jotted down. Sorry I can’t offer anything more.

It doesn’t matter anyway, since they shut down the account, with a letter explaining why still on its way. Probably Chex inquiries/new accounts.

3 payments I pulled from this account once the initial deposit showed as “available” are now being reversed one by one and I’m having to re-pay various things. But in a bit of luck, Suntrust just offered me $10 to set up 3 new BP payees and pay them… Done!

That really sucks. I ended up signing up manually by calling and so far, everything is working. I expect to be shut down eventually due to Chex.

Applied online and approved, funded with Citi AA Plat for $250 and currently pending as a purchase.

Brian – did the Citi AA Plat funding end up clearing as a purchase?

Yup, posted as purchase. Never touched my CA limit either.

Follow up, I had applied online using my address in VA but with an out of state DL, they called me today saying they just needed proof of residence (lease/utility/etc.) and I’d be set. So they’re definitely location sensitive.

I was denied based on location. Not sure about Chex queries. How do I check how many Chex queries I have?

You have to request a report be mailed to you. There is a doc article on it, or just google chexsystems.

Data Point – funded opening $250 deposit with Freedom Unlimited card, posted as a purchase and earned 375 UR.

Spoke too soon – apparently I was able to open the account, sent some trial deposits from Ally, and then they closed the account due to something in Chex System.

I tried to warn you guys! I had the same thing happen last promo for $100 in November. They automatically setup the account, run your credit card deposit, then do chex last. You get an account number and online access right away, making you feel all safe to start banking. You even get e-mail and snail mail WELCOME LETTERS from them. After a couple days they shut down the account and send you a check.

They will shut it down if you:
1. Live to far away from the nearest branch. (they should program the website to filter by zip code, if they care so much)
2. Have too many Chex inquires. I couldn’t get them to give me a specific number or length of time that would be acceptable.

If you can’t feasibly drive to a branch to setup this account, I wouldn’t bother.

On the bright side, you do get some credit card spend.

DP: Same here as V, this shitty bank approved and closed my account the next day. Called and told I would receive a letter explaining the reason and the refund check for initial deposit. But haven’t received it for 10 days.

DP: $250 opening deposit funded with Citi AA Plat personal coded as purchase.

I used BOA NEA Cash Rewards MC and coded as purchase.

Is the debit card supposed to get mailed separately? I didn’t get one with my welcome packet.

Was approved on 2/7. Just got denial letter in mail today (2/21) with a cashier’s check for my initial deposit. I had only applied to two other bank account bonuses ever – M&T and Santander in January and Februaury.

Maybe three inquiries in the same quarter is the limit? You can call and ask for the reason, but when I tried they would not give me specifics. This isn’t a very large bank, and it’s possible the people doing the approvals are familiar with the banks that do bonus promo’s… I have only heard of one CU that was more picky – Chartway – two inquires within the last year, I believe.

I would order a copy of your ChexSystems “consumer report”. You can submit your request online on the Chex website, but have to wait for snail mail report. Just to make sure there are no surprises, and take action to correct anything if needed.

It can’t be. I have 15+ and still have the account for over a week.

I actually did go ahead and order my ChexSystems report earlier this week because of this. I don’t really care enough to call and ask for more details. Just going to take the L.

What do they mean by 4th statement cycle? Does that mean to use the card in the forth month for 8 times? that’s kinda random lol. So it means we won’t get the bonus until the fifth month, right?

I interpreted it as it’s 8 transactions on the 4th statement cycle itself.

Looks like it’s dead. The page that the link takes you to no longer mentions any bonus money.

Just got a note that they’re changing their fees. The ones of interest to us are:

Inactive Account – $5 per month (no activity on a checking account for 12 months)
Early Account Closing – $25 if a deposit account is closed within 180 days of the open date

Not sure if they will try to retroactively apply the early closing fee to existing accounts, but since we need to wait 4 months for the bonus anyway we may as well keep it open for 6 just to be sure.

Received a notification from the bank today that the early account closing fee of $25 now applies if the account is closed within 180 days of opening.

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