Posted by William Charles on May 18, 2016
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on May 18th, 2016 | by William Charles

96

Seacoast Has Closed Accounts Opened Outside Of Florida For Their $200 Promotion + Your Options

Recently we reposted a $200 checking promotion for Seacoast as they were accepting nationwide applications and applying the bonuses to those accounts. Unfortunately it seems like they will not be honoring this promotion for people that signed up outside of Florida, where there branches are located.

If you log into your account, you’ll probably see the following (via Travel with Grant).

seacoast bank

How Will Funds Be Refunded?

One of the benefits of this account was that you could initially fund with a credit card. A lot of readers took advantage of this to rack up some easy no fee credit card. Some customer service representatives have stated that a check will be sent out, others have stated that funds will be refunded to a credit card if that is how the account was initially funded.

Fingers crossed they sent out the checks so that at least people were able to get $1,000 in credit card funding out of it. Personally I’ll be surprised if this happens as from a logistical stand point it would be easier just to process refunds directly back to the credit card.

What Are Your Options?

Before looking at your options, let’s have a look at the fine print of the offer itself. You can view these terms and the page (with pictures) at Way Back Machine.

*Offer valid through 6/30/16 and subject to change or withdrawal at any time without notice. May not be combined with any other offers. Valid for new Seacoast checking customers only. Not valid for Free Checking. Limit one $200 bonus per household. The new checking account must have qualifying Direct Deposit(s) credited to the account of at least $500 within the first 60 days of account opening to qualify for the $100 bonus. The new checking account must have at least 15 Seacoast debit card transactions post in the first 60 days of account opening to qualify for the other $100 bonus. The bonus will be credited to the eligible account within 65 days of opening if the aforementioned requirements are met. All account openings subject to approval and underwriting guidelines. The bonus will be reported on the recipient’s 1099INT.

**No monthly service fee when you receive E-statements and perform 7 debit card purchase transactions per monthly statement cycle OR receive E-statements and receive a direct deposit of at least $250 per monthly statement cycle. Otherwise a $7 monthly service fee will apply.

***No Fees at Publix ATM, Online and Mobile banking features not available for Personal Free Checking.  You may be charged fees by the provider of the wireless network you are using to access mobile banking and mobile deposit services.

As you can see, there are no terms about this being available to Florida only and other states were available in the drop down. In addition to this, they also processed previous applications with a drivers license ID from somebody out of state. In terms of your options you basically have three:

  1. Try to escalate the matter with Seacoast Bank, pointing out the terms of the offer didn’t include any state requirements and you applied in good faith
  2. File a complaint with the CFPB. You can view more details on this process by clicking here.
  3. Mark it down as a failed bonus and move onto another bank account bonus.

Personally I’d be doing option #3, it really does suck that they will not be honoring the promotion according to the fine print. If my account had been open for awhile and I’d completed the requirements, I would probably have recommended option #1 (followed by option #2 if that didn’t work) but at this stage I think your time will be better spent just moving on.

That being said, I wouldn’t begrudge anybody that did want to go with either of the other two options as the fine print clearly doesn’t state anything about being required to live in Florida. Let me know your thoughts in the comments about what you will be doing.



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jay
jay

What will chex system say about closure? Any negative remark from this fiasco?

NoonRadar

I would absolutely file a complain with CFPB (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/) and attach the bonus terms as a supporting document. It doesn’t take long to do that and I’m sure Seacoast will have to honor the bonus after the complaint. Also hit them online on social media.

Sorry, no love lost for the banks. They themselves set up the terms of these bonuses and rewards. If you as a consumer played by their rules you are entitled to the rewards.

I never had to file a complaint for a bank bonus, but I do always save the bonus terms in case any of them pulls something like this.

Billy
Billy

I botched a TechCU app back in Feb that I had funded $1000 with CC. They closed the account the business day following my initial application and sent me a $1000 check rather than reversing the charge. So, getting checks does happen. I got $20 in CC rebates out of it at least.

Barb
Barb

This is one of those deals I am not inclined to complain and report to CFPB. I understand this is one of the “small” banks and I know I can’t win ’em all. It’s enough for me that they refund my initial deposit either by returning funds to my CC or a check. I’m not expecting a derogatory remark on my chexsystem report and would like to keep it that way.

Ben
Ben

Any reason to think they wouldn’t honor the deal for someone living in Florida, with a FL DL, but not near a local Seacoast branch?

John
John

Already filed a complaint that they didn’t honor the terms.

Shaun
Shaun

Texas here and I’m still open. Opened with $25 from an external bank on 5/12. Maybe they’re waiting for it to clear to close me.

Carlos
Carlos

Why is it even a question about chex systems.
The mere mention of it makes me laugh.
You did nothing wrong you violated no rules.
If the bank did report you they would leave themselves wide open for litigation.

AP
AP

Small bank or not, I legitimately opened the account because I go to school in Florida, but my Drivers License and “home address” are out of state. What irked me was the complete lack of communication. I could’ve ACH pulled the funds or something. Just closing the account without notice is CFPB worthy IMO.

bob
bob

folks Seacoast has approximately $3.2 billion in assets and $2.6 billion in deposits as of June 30, 2015. Get what u can! this is not a “small” bank. They buy out the competition all the time. They have lots of cash to play with. This stunt they are pulling is sickening.

Tim
Tim

That asset size makes them the 259th largest bank in the US…they are most definitely a small bank: http://www.usbanklocations.com/bank-rank/total-assets.html

They had a promotion that was exploited – it probably was never intended to be nationwide. They have every right to decline to open out of market accounts that they feel will not be profitable to them. I’m sorry you are sickened by a company making a good business decision – but honestly the only sickening thing is your comment.

bob
bob

259th out of 6100 !! that is a LARGE bank lol get real

John
John

There are 3 kinds of banks…big banks…medium banks…and small banks.

There are about 20-25 big banks…another 75-100 or so medium banks…and after that you are small. Chase is about 600 times their size as an example.

Looking at the Dodd-Frank Act, the $10 Billion asset mark is when the an institution is subject to the CFPB regulations. I’d safely say that if you’re under $10 Billion you’re a small institution in this day and age.

PG
PG

Closed my account too. Unfortunately, I live on the west coast. If only there was a way I could afford to fly cheaply- I’d head right on over and give them a piece of my mind in person!

Don L

I’m still alive out of state – but I was part of an earlier cohort.

Opened account 03/22. Already completed ACH and debit card requirements, but no bonus post yet.

CaptainSave
CaptainSave

So what will happen the my $500 that i sent from bluebird? Its already withdrawn from my account but not posted in the seacoast account yet and now its closed?

Joshua
Joshua

What would happen when you have pending ACH transfer while they close your account? How would the money be refunded?

Joshua
Joshua

Called and the rep said the account was closed because they don’t have branch at the west coast. All funds would be returned via the source of funding. Sounds like it would be a return to the credit card if you open with credit card funding…..

Eric
Eric

I’m just curious but all of you filing a CPFB complaint what are you hoping to get out of it? If you are expecting $200 I doubt that will happen since most of you haven’t met any of the requirements. Like someone wrote I doubt they will mind this bad publicity since they only care about their Florida customers apparently.

Eric
Eric

I meant CFPB.

John
John

It is more the principle of the matter than the $200.

NoonRadar

My CPFB suggestion was implying people did meet the requirements as per Seacoast bonus terms. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense to complain.

Eric
Eric

I have no data to back this up but I’m guessing that they are only closing accounts for people that opened this after DoC reposted the other article about a week ago. I haven’t seen anyone complain about having their account closed after meeting the requirements. By your earlier post it seems you were implying that you didn’t open an account. Did you miss the deadline like me?

NoonRadar

Eric, no I was actually able to open the Seacoast account early, get the bonus via an ach push and close the account without issues.

On my comment above about CPFB I mean to say that if I was one of the consumers who opened the account, followed the Seacoast rules and fulfilled the criteria, then was denied the bonus, I would def complain. Seacoast didn’t specify on the bonus terms that this was restricted to FL residents only, therefore they are the ones in violation of their own advertised bonus terms (consumers merely followed those terms) by denying the bonus or closing accounts just not to honor their bonus. Hence the complaint is valid in my view.

Ben
Ben

I am inclined to do nothing, except I do wonder about the chex inquiry. Are those removable by either the bank or chex systems? Since I did not actually get an account out of the inquiry due to no fault of my own, I would like to have it removed for another bonus account opening. Any experience with this?

Bill
Bill

You should ask, likely on the grounds that if they had no intention of opening an account out of their market then they should not have performed the inquiry. You could ask Seacoast, and if they don’t agree then you could ask ChexSystems.
The inquiry may remain, but you never know what you’ll get until you ask.

Charly Chang
Charly Chang

Heck, mine was closed as well, just opened 5 days ago. Hopefully they don’t return the credit card charge. I used it to meet a spending requirement.

Ringo
Ringo

Talked to them since they reversed three bill pays after they debited my account for the $1000 I deposited and then charged my account three nsf fees. They said they already sent the $1000 back to my credit card.

stvr
stvr

This not only undermines the credibility of the bank but also the credibility of this blog. DoC, maybe you should reach out to them on behalf of your readers.

adam d
adam d

It’s a blog, not a vetted news organization. Go at your own risk, he’s right 95% of the time, of course there’s going to be potholes to free money sometimes. There’s a pretty easy solution if you’re not happy with the blog.

kd
kd

lol this is the funniest thing I’ve ever read.
Apparently common sense is not so common.

Tim
Tim

And what would he say?? “I had two readers report they opened accounts from out of state…please give these other 1,000 people each $200!”

They are a business – they made a good business decision when a loophole was exploited. Move on!

I agree with Adam d – you are welcome to stop reading – heck I’m sure doc will refund 100% of the fee you paid to read this blog.

Lidiya
Lidiya

3rd this. DoC is the man… I think we should just move on. Only way I would consider filing is if I had already met bonus terms and they closed account. Not the case at all.

Eric
Eric

While I agree with your point of view and applaud you for expressing it here, how is stvr’s attitude much different than many of the other posters? Did you see how many people got upset in the other thread over having their accounts closed? I don’t believe the CFPB was created for a situation like this. Do you?

Tim
Tim

This response seems confusing to me. Are you asking if the CFPB was created to complain about DoC? The wording is a bit odd in the comment.

At any rate stvr’s comment is different because he seems to place DoC somewhat at fault. I personally don’t think that this undermines DoC’s credibility nor do I think the blog should reach out to anybody in anyone else’s behalf. Let’s all just be personally responsible here for our actions!

Eric
Eric

My reply to you had nothing to do with DoC at all. I meant I agree with you that the business is simply protecting its own interest which is smart. Many people in the other thread said they are filing a CFPB complaint over having their accounts closed. Do you agree with those people? A couple of people said the communication was lacking which is a valid complaint. The vast majority are just having sour grapes over “losing” $200 that was never theirs.

Eric
Eric

Also, I wanted to add that I agree with stvr that it hurts a company’s credibility to renege on an offer. Now I don’t know exactly what happened. Originally DoC posted that this offer was only for Florida so I didn’t even subscribe to the post so I had no idea what was going on until he re-posted it. There must be a reason he thought it was only for Florida. It’s always best to ask a bank if there is ambiguity. Of course that goes against the popular strategy of exploiting every loophole.

Tim
Tim

Sorry – my inital response wasn’t clear but I was solely addressing the idea of what would doc say if he did something “on people’s behalf”. People can respond individually to this however they’d like – I have no issue there. Personally I’ll just let it go. I was more saying what can doc do – and that it wasn’t DoC’s idea for the bank to close the loophole. I see now that wasn’t clear in my original post.

Wyle
Wyle

No strikes against DoC, but Seacoast should be held accountable and make amends to some extent. It’s not like they disapproved our applications. The apps were approved, account numbers were assigned, funds were transferred to the new account. They acted like a bank. To simply close accounts with no notice and leave pending transfers, direct deposit changes, trial deposits (trivial maybe, but some banks suspend accounts for such things) all in limbo while charging NSF fees to new accounts (probably to be reversed), reversing billpays, etc. is simply unacceptable. They had MANY opportunities to stop servicing the account requests, notify people of the “misunderstanding” and smoothly terminate things. They chose not to do that. I think its very irresponsible and unprofessional, ESPECIALLY if they recently serviced out of market applications (as indicated above) and simply decided the DoC swarm was simply too much (after accepting the applications).

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

You nailed it and saved me from writing the same thing. This is the exact reason I’m filing a complaint. I’m not doing it for the $200 nor do I expect it. I still have two pending transfers that I’m hoping don’t get me in hot water with my bank that could’ve been prevented.

Had SC provided adequate time and communication this wouldn’t of become an issue. A bank this large (in the top 4% in size per Bob’s data) shouldn’t be allowed to operate like this without something being done about it so no I will not “let it go” without putting my money where my mouth is and making my experience known to the CFPB.

Eric
Eric

You made some great points. If you are charged fees the least they could do is refund you for that. BTW, it was not the “DoC swarm” that caused this to happen. MMS posted an article about the $1K credit card funding. The offer was taken down almost immediately after.

tbradnc
tbradnc

Life is too short to get bent out of shape over not getting a $200 bank bonus.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Speak for yourself. This isn’t about $200 for me. Feel free to read my response just above yours (as well as the one I responded to).

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

BTW if anyone is curious to read their response to my question about what was going on with my account and why it was closed you can read below. Kind of funny that they admit it was nationwide but in a response prior I was told by someone that this was a glitch. Pretty damn contradictory if you ask me.

“Mr. XXXX, we do apologize for any inconveniences being caused due to this
closure. You are correct in stating that the Bank has previously allowed nationwide
account holders, but keep in mind promotional offers are subject to change or
withdrawal at any time without notice. We strive to offer attractive incentives to our
customers and communities throughout the year. Primarily based on market interest,
offers are subject to change or withdrawal at any time without notice. Even with that
being said, you will still be receiving a letter in the mail as well as an email very
soon. Also, any funds that were used to open the account have been returned based
on the source of funding. “

Carlos
Carlos

Sounds to me like they had an overwhelming response to this offer that may have hurt their profits.

Daniel
Daniel

Just got a “refund” on my credit card for funding the account. For what it’s worth, I funded $1000 with Chase Sapphire Preferred.

nh
nh

Data Point: Opened account last week with $1000 charge from British Airways Chase Visa. Account was closed this week since my address on file was not in Florida. $1000 purchase was refunded back to my credit card.

This account was a swing, and a miss. Thanks for posting about it anyway!

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