[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.]
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
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.]
- 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.
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.]
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.
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.
2530 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.