Posted by Chuck on May 21, 2015
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on May 21st, 2015 | by Chuck

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[EXPIRED][NJ] Ocean First Bank $300 Checking Account Bonus [No Direct Deposit Required]

[UPDATE: The $300 Promotion has been updated, the new offer will be running for a limited time. It has greatly improved and become much easier to achieve than the previous promotion.]

Ocean First Bank $300 Bonus Details

There’s an awesome bank bonus now available for those in the New Jersey area with Ocean First Bank. I did this bonus last year and I believe it’s the very best bank bonus available. We recently started adding some state-specific bank bonuses to our Best Bank Bonus page, and we’ll be adding this one in over there.

Offer at a glance

  • Maximum bonus amount: $300
  • Availability: New Jersey
  • Direct deposit required: None
  • Additional requirements: 50 debit card transactions
  • Hard/soft pull: soft
  • Credit card funding: yes [at least $2500]
  • Monthly fees: Waive-able 
  • Early account termination fee: Account must remain open for a year
  • Expiration date: June 30, 2015

The Offer

Direct Link

Here are the options available:

  • Open Simply Great checking or Classic Checking and request the free debit card which comes with it, and receive $100 immediately.
  • [UPDATE] : The new promotion only requires 30 signature or online transactions within 75 days of account opening. The additional $200 bonus will then be deposited 5 days after the 75 day period if the requirement is met.

The other option is to:

  • Open a Totally Free Checking account or an A+ Student Checking account and receive $50  + 25,000 Uchoose Rewards points (worth around $200 in gift cards, such as Amazon, Target or Walmart gift cards). Must request the free debit card which comes with the account, and must register for the Uchoose Rewards program. Use the debit card 30 times for online or signature transactions within 75 days.

[UPDATE: A reader tells us that the bank informs customers that there is a minimum $2 transaction amount with each of the transactions. Be sure to do the 50 transactions with a minimum of $2 each.]

[UPDATE: After speaking with the banker I was informed they removed the $2 requirement from the current promotion, which will help many people to achieve the current bonus. The new bonus is also simplified by requiring only 30 (signature or online) transaction during the first 75 days of account opening.]

Waiving Fees

  • Simply Great Checking account comes with a $6.95 monthly maintenance fee. Fee is waived with a daily minimum balance of $5000.
  • Classic Checking comes with a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee. Fee is waived with a daily minimum balance of $1000.
  • Totally Free Checking and Student Checking accounts don’t come with monthly fees.

Geographic Availability

Ocean First Bank has around 25 locations throughout NJ. Locator

Online they are only accepting applications for Ocean County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Mercer County. All residents of NJ can likely apply in-branch even if you don’t live in those counties. We verified this is possible thanks to reader Eric. It may be possible for residents of other states to apply in-branch, but we have no data points.

[UPDATE: We still don’t have positive verification for non-NJ residents, please respond in the comments if you have any data points, your help is greatly appreciated.]

The Fine Print

  • Must use promo code: OFB300 [The promo code was not specified on the sheet, I would suggest calling in to double check if applying online]
  • “Offer available as of May 15, 2015 for a limited time and subject to change at any time” It’s fair to assume that if the landing page is still there, that means the offer is still available, but it’s worth calling in to verify. In my experience, the CSRs are aware of the promo.
  • All cash bonus’ are taxable.
  • $50 minimum to open account.
  • Account must remain open and active for 1 year or bonus will be forfeited.
  • Limit of one cash bonus per household.
  • New customers only.

Credit Card Funding

When I opened up my account last year, I opened in-branch so I couldn’t use credit card funding. However I did open a savings account with them a few month later and I was able to fund it with a credit card.

From memory, I used a Chase card (with cash advance set to zero) and funded $1,000, and it went through fine as a purchase (and helped me meet a minimum spend requirement). At that time, I wasn’t interested in funding the account with more than $1,000, but it’s possible that the true limit is higher than $1,000.

I’m assuming this initial funding option is still around, and I’m fairly confident that the checking account will also have the $1,000 (or higher) credit card funding option.

[UPDATE: A reader informed us that it’s possible to do at least $2500 in credit card funding for the checking account.]

Soft/Hard Pull

In my experience, there is no hard pull done by Ocean First for a new checking account (nor for a new savings account). Presumably, there is a Chex inquiry done.

Our Verdict

For those in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, this offer is really awesome! You can open an account online, fund it with a credit card, get no hard pull, get an immediate $100, and easily meet the requirement to get another $200. All with no direct deposit necessary.

For those in other parts of NJ, we have verified it is possible to go into a branch and open an account for all residents of NJ. We still have no data points for out of state residents.

Here’s how I’d go about completing this offer, if I wasn’t an existing customer:

  • Go to the landing page and click “open account”.
  • Open the Classic Checking account with promo code OFB300,  and order a debit card with the account. (There’s no advantage in the Simply Great Checking over the Classic, and the Classic is easier to keep fee-free.)
  • Fund it with the max allowed with a credit card ($1,000 or more). If you fund it with more than $1,000, you can immediately withdraw the funds to your regular high-interest savings account, but be sure to leave $1,000 in the account at all times to avoid fees. Also, leave some extra money to cover the cost of the debit card transactions.
  • Do 25 30 signature debit card card transactions. You can buy 30 $.50 Amazon gift cards (slowly), or load your Serve card or your Chime card, see this post for more options. Personally, I did both the Amazon $.50 and the Chime method since it was a high bonus and I wanted to be doubly sure it worked, but it really wasn’t necessary.
  • Between day 46 and day 75 do another 25 debit card transactions.
  • Keep the $1,000 balance in the account for one full year. Then close the account.

All told, you’ll end up with $300, plus an extra 1,000 (or more) credit card points from the initial funding.

Another option could be to open the Totally Free Checking account instead. You’d end up with $50 plus around $200 in Amazon/Target/Walmart gift cards (after redeeming the Uchoose Reward points) and you’d have the advantage of not tying up $1,000.

If you don’t live in the above-mentioned counties, it gets trickier. First you need to verify that they’ll be willing to open an account for your area and that the bonus can be applied to accounts opened in branch. I’m optimistic on both of these things, but I haven’t been able to verify them. (Last time, in-branch applications were fine.) Then you’ll need to find the nearest branch and go in to open the account. You’ll also  lose the extra credit card points, since credit card funding isn’t an option in-branch. Still, it could be a great offer.

Thanks to Maximizing Money for making us aware that this offer is back up.

Thanks to DoC writer Mileswhip for updating the information regarding the updated limited time promotion.

As always, you can see all available bank bonuses here, and our top picks here.



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I live in Bergen County, but have family in Middlesex County whose address I can use. Are there any particular problems to be aware of if I try to open an account online using their address? Of course I realize I’d have to provide my “previous” address too for Chex verification.

Confirmed with CCare, offer is available. I live in Middlesex county, applied online and approved !!

Will post feedback once Bonuses start posting.

Has anyone that lives in another county in NJ had success?

Chuck,

I just read the post you linked to regarding your Amazon account getting frozen. I always worried that something like that could happen so I’ve never bought more than 3 or 4 Amazon gc in a day. Is it possible that your bank was the one that caused your Amazon account to be frozen? Did you simply buy 50 $.50 Amazon gc for this OceanFirst promotion? Did they literally hand you $100 cash at account opening or just added it to your account?

Chuck, I read the post you linked to and still don’t understand why I need to opt out of PIN-less debit on Amazon’s site. Are you saying that won’t count as purchases with this OceanFirst debit card? It’s very unlikely I’m going to do that Serve idea. I don’t want to risk my Serve account being shut down for abuse.

I just signed up for this account and was able to deposit 2500 from a credit card. They now sent me a letter regarding the spend bonus and it says 25 purchases of $2 or more. Is this a new term or it’s old and not inforced? I did plan on doing .50 for the bonus hope I still can. Thanks.

Hi Freemoney,

Did you fund your account using the credit card online or in branch? Thanks!

Online. Be careful about in-branch coding as a cash advance, in some banks even if it codes as a purchase when you do it on the web it codes as a cash advance when you do it in-branch.

Chuck,

I read over the terms of the offer again and see that it says “online and/or signature based purchases”. Doesn’t that imply that PIN-less debit transactions WOULD count toward the 50? If so, I’m probably not going to opt out as I don’t mind Amazon saving money on these small purchases. It appears in your other thread that you were only talking about possibly missing out on rewards, right? This card doesn’t offer any rewards.

Any data points if OFB can be funded with Citi premier, I want to open an account for my wife and fund with Premier to meet the 3K limit (I already have one and I tried to fund it with chase Marriott and it was declined with zero cash advance limit) ?

Wouldn’t risk it, Citi often codes bank funding as cash advance.

Amazon doesn’t count as a Debit transaction however evolve does, I had 30 transactions out of which few (8) were amazon, OFB declined to accept then so is the bonus. I think they are coding every thing which people are using online so beware and only sign up if you actually want to use the debit card in stores.

Gaurav,

Were all of your transactions $2 or more? What do you mean by this “Amazon doesn’t count as a Debit transaction”?

I meant OFB doesn’t count Amazon transactions towards the 25 transactions we need to make for the bonus, all my transactions were above 2 dollars.

Did they actually tell you that? The only requirements I was told were it had to be $2 or more and it had to a pin-less purchase. Amazon should not be excluded. Has anyone else had this problem?

I spoke with CC. OFB CC says it’s an Amazon coding issue that forces it to code as debit even without the PIN.
I didn’t bother with Evolve because of their 3% fee per transaction on OFB debit.
The account is kinda nice to have if you end up in their footprint and ATMs for other banks may be scarce.

What is CC? The same thing happened to me with a Walmart purchase. I didn’t use my pin but it automatically was charged as debit.

Yes, I called the customer care, she said all Amazon transactions will be excluded as they are made online, i confronted her that none of my transactions were made in stores and all are made online but she had no answer…any pointers what i could do to get my bonus as i spent time for the 25 transactions and leaving it will be no justice to my efforts..

I did 25 50 cent amazon gift before I knew of the $2 rule, and never got around to making $2 transactions. I got a msg the other day from ocean first telling me that they reviewed my account and see a whole bunch of amazon purchases but they don’t count since they are not $2 or more, but didn’t say online transactions don’t count.

Any update on if this works for people out of the state of New Jersey?

if I did this last year can I close my account than open a new one?

Has anyone used the debit card to load Serve online? If so, did you earn rewards for it?

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