I have been in the personal finance game long enough to have seen some trends. One of those trends is the increase in free money offers, zero interest offers, and cash back offers, like the $400 Wells Fargo Free Checking offer that showed up in my mail. If you are in your 30s or 40s, you can probably remember the opposite, when credit cards were stingy with approval and even basic checking came with some sort of minimum fee. Banking and credit offers are a lagging indicator. They get good after the economy and markets get good and stay good after the rest of the market rolls over.
Wells Fargo Checking $400 Bonus
The Wells Fargo $400 bonus works like most cash bonus offers from other banks. There is no Wells Fargo $400 bonus scam, but you need to read all of the requirements before you leap into a new checking account.
First, you have to use the special offer code when you open your new checking account with Wells Fargo. That’s the easy part.
Then, you have to have $1,000 worth of qualifying direct deposits during the first 90 days your account is open. Wells Fargo calls this the qualification period.
If you meet both conditions, then you will get your money deposited into your account within 30 days after the end of the qualification period. However, no matter how quickly you get your $1,000 worth of qualifying deposits, the offer says that they won’t review your account until after the 90 days, so you won’t be getting that $400 right away.
So, the main catch for the $400 bonus Wells Fargo checking account offer is that you definitely won’t get the money for at least 90 days, and you might not get it for up to 120 days. With the Fed raising interest rates at a fast pace, you will want to transfer money into a high-yield savings or checking account after each deposit. Remember, the money must start there. It doesn’t have to stay there.
Wells Fargo Qualifying Direct Deposits
In order to qualify for this offer, the direct deposit needs to be made using the ACH network. It also needs to be your salary, pension, Social Security, or other regular income. Basically, Wells Fargo is trying to make this your main, or one of your main, checking accounts by making you put your salary into it. The theory is that if your main checking account is with Wells Fargo then you are more likely to use other, more profitable, accounts and services.
What if you are self-employed, or a freelancer, you might ask?
Well, that gets into kind of a gray area. I get monthly deposits from Google AdSense, Amazon Associates, and so on, but none of that is a salary or wage of any kind, so it is unlikely to count.
Is the $400 bonus worth it?
Regular readers of Finance Gourmet know that I’m a huge fan of credit unions. Even with a $400 account opening bonus you will most likely do better with a credit union over time. If, on the other hand, you do get the kind of ACH deposits of income from multiple employers, then maybe shooting one of them over to Wells Fargo to snag $400 would be worth your time and effort. After you get your Wells Fargo $400, you can open an account elsewhere and snag their bonus as well.
About the Author
Brian is a former Certified Financial Professional (CFP). He has extensive experience helping people plan for their financial future, as well as over a decade of writing about personal finance, investing, and financial planning. You can reach Brian via his freelance writing website.