Posted by William Charles on January 11, 2016
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Published on January 11th, 2016 | by William Charles


Met The Requirements Of A Bank Bonus And Haven’t Received It? Here’s What To Do

Reposting this because we’ve gotten a lot of questions relating to this recently.

Banks and credit unions don’t have the best reputation for customer service, especially when it comes to paying consumers money. Recently there have been a few examples of financial institutions not honoring bank account bonuses, most notably Wells Fargo has dragged their feet on this $100 bonus and Alliant claims that this $150 offer was targeted, even though they accepted applications and the fine print never stated it was a targeted promotion.

In cases like this, the financial institution is legally required to pay you the bonus. The onus is on them to ensure that the fine print states whether the promotion is targeted or not, furthermore they should be using unique invitational codes so that consumers can’t sign up for offers they aren’t eligible for.

[Read: Best bank account bonuses]

In the event that this bait and switch happens to you, here is what you should do:

  • Re-read the fine print carefully. You should always take a screenshot of any offers you sign up for. This way you have evidence of what the offer was like when you signed up. In some cases there might be a reason as to why you haven’t received your bonus (e.g sometimes bonuses take 120 days after the requirements are met to post). In the case of the Wells Fargo bonus, Wells Fargo requires consumers to have their W9 on file for the bonus to post.
  • Contact the banks customer support. Usually you can send a secured message or e-mail. If you call, make sure you get the customer service representatives name or employee ID and also get a reference code for the call. If you don’t get an adequate response (e.g they pay out the bonus) then it’s time to escalate.
  • File a complaint with the CFPB. You can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau online here. Make sure to include as much information as possible, here is what I recommend including:
    • Screenshot of the offer at the time of your application (if you forgot or lost your screenshot, we take and post these on our site as well)
    • Any correspondence you’ve made with the bank and any outcomes of this correspondence. E.g, “Called bank on 11/11/2013 customer service rep employee ID 129513, phone call reference number 028457. Representative stated that the bonus would post to my account within two weeks. It has been three weeks, bonus has still not posted)

The CFPB is extremely pro-active about these complaints. They’ll forward your complaint to the financial institution, in every instance I’ve seen a valid complaint made in regards to bank bonuses the financial institution has responded within 5 working days and a satisfactory outcome (e.g the bonus being paid) has been achieved.

[Read: How the CFPB complaint process works]

You should not worry about ruining your banking relationship by using this complaint process, adverse action taken on this basis is extremely illegal and no financial institution in their right mind would take this risk. Financial institutions are required to play by rules and if they fail to do so, making a CFPB complaint is the easiest way to get a positive outcome.

19 Responses to Met The Requirements Of A Bank Bonus And Haven’t Received It? Here’s What To Do

  1. Sid says:

    Is the CFPB an organization to contact to complain about credit card bonuses not posting as well? I’ve already been told I won’t get the bonus but I’d like to voice an objection regardless.

    • Yes, they have a section for credit card and prepaid cards as well as banking accounts. From what I’ve heard and experienced, they are far less pro-active in getting banks to give out these bonuses (some have suggested this is because bank account bonuses are taxed and credit card bonuses aren’t. I’m not convinced that’s the case though).

      File a complaint and let me know how it goes, feel free to also send me the specifics and I might be able to reach out if I have any connections at that particular card issuer.

  2. purcitron says:

    biggest problem is that banks are more strictly enforcing the direct deposit requirement. ACH push doesnt work with many banks

  3. Ny says:

    Such a timely post (as always). Trying to work with US Bank about my missing bonus just feels like I’m getting the run-around. I just submitted my complaint with screenshots. Hopefully, I hear something positive soon. Thanks for running such a great blog.
    Also, there’s another bonus out there for AZ residents:

  4. james says:

    Great to know about this. Back in the early days of Citi’s 20,000 AA mile bonus, they were denying people’s bonuses for all kinds of made up reasons. Wish I had saved copies of my secure message thread…

  5. Ron says:

    Thanks for the info, just filed a complaint against Discover Bank because they promised a bonus when I opened one of their savings accounts but they keep delaying the deposit saying they “escalated it to a promotional specialist for investigation” This is the third time they’ve escalated it but still no bonus.

    • Ron says:

      Well, finally got my bonus. After submitting a complaint with the CFPB, within three days I got a message from a manager at Discover Bank and the bonus was deposited to my account within two weeks.

      Thanks again for the tip on filing a complaint with the CFPB.

  6. jay says:

    Question will. I am currently in back and forth mode with citizens back about bonus. The issue is boiling down to account opening date. The terms were apply before 7.31.15 and get $200. Now they didn’t actually open the account until 8.4.15 as they needed identity proof from me which i mailed next day of opening account online.

    Do i have a case here to fight for the bonus? As I technically opened the account before the deadline but their system has different date.

    • Hard to say, if it’s at a stale mate I’d contact the CFPB and say you opened the account in good faith and through no fault of your own it wasn’t opened until after the promotional period. From memory the Citizens Bank fine print didn’t say anything about it possibly taking days to open the account. I’m obviously not a lawyer though.

    • Eric says:

      I had this same problem a few years ago with Citizens. Are you sure the terms said “apply” by that date? I am almost positive it said the account had to be opened by that date when I was denied. I didn’t end up getting the bonus.

      • jay says:

        I will double check but pretty sure it said apply by. It’s a movers coupon. I was hoping to get approved online only but they needed to see my identity proof. This is churnable bonus and last time it worked perfectly fine.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Do you recommend using the CFPB on a case where the bank hasn’t paid the bonus on a promotion where I used ACH instead of the required DD? Wouldn’t this draw attention to the ACH loophole?

    I still haven’t gotten paid the $300 from Discover checking (opened before 11/4) and used Ally for two $250 deposits. I just finished doing two $250 with Paypal, so I’ll give it a little longer to see if that does the trick.

    • NoonRadar says:

      It doesn’t make much sense to go to the CFPB without contacting the bank at least once asking about the bonus to be posted. If the reason for them not giving you the bonus is due to your ACH not being counted as a DD, the bank will tell you so, in which case I would not take it to CFPB, don’t see a ground for course reversal; the bank would point to the CFPB the indicator showing that money was not DD (whatever they saw in the first place to deny you the bonus).

      If the bank is acting like an ahole (Nationwide as I recall was acting as such with me about a bonus) then definitely threaten them with the complaint, also let them know you have screen shots (I always screen grab the offer page and also any additional bonus terms pages) of their marketed offer.

      I’d be surprised if they still bulk, in which case a complaint with CFPB would make them do so. In this case I would also let the bank know that I would make sure to also file a complaint with BBB and voice my experience online wherever the bank advertises; whether I do it or not its a diff story, I would probably not waste my time doing so, unless they really pissed me off.

    • Personally I wouldn’t, I only ever make a CFPB complaint when I’ve completed the bonus and followed their instructions to a T.

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  9. mike1 says:

    If AMEX shut down my cards due to wanting a 4506-T and I didn’t send it, can I still file an CFPB if it’s already been a year?

  10. Sam says: to keep the screenshots. Many banks have a http version of the https offer page.

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