January 11 2011|06.40 AM UTC

Samantha Eckles

How to Get Free Cash From Your Bank

Category: Personal FinanceTags: , , ,

If you’re ready to pull the greatest heist since the days of Dillinger, this bank robbery scheme is perfect. Not only are you guaranteed to walk away with tons of free cash, but you can do so without the use of guns, masks, time locks or hostages. In fact, in every case, these banks will send you on your way with a handshake and a smile. Sound too good to be true? It’s the way most banks are doing business these days, and the following six steps will ensure that you benefit from it.

1. FIND FREE OFFERS

Almost every bank offers some incentive for opening a new checking or savings account at their branch. Your job is to find these offers, just like a thief casing a job.

Assemble a list of the banks in your area offering cash, gift cards, waffle irons, pitching wedges, tanks of gas or whatever they have to give. Assemble this list in order of most valuable to least. This is your researching order, as not all incentives are as good as they sound.

2. FIND THE YEARLY FEES

Some of these offers will be tied to accounts that require yearly fees, and may only be valid after a year of participation. These offers are significantly less valuable than they appear, and therefore need to be lowered in the pecking order.

Because a bank’s primary goal is lure in new customers, they will often use free gifts to coax them into higher maintenance accounts, as opposed to standard checking or savings accounts. While most accounts cost nothing to open or maintain, some have annual fees, making the gift significantly less valuable. Run the fee against the gift being offered to decide whether or not it is worth your time.

3. FIND THE PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS

Just as some accounts have annual fees that accompany their existence, others have specific requirements that may make them too difficult to maintain.

Minimum balances of $10,000 or higher, minimum monthly check requirements and other forms of participation can turn a free toaster into a time-wasting headache. There are some ways around these requirements if the incentive is high enough.

For example, transferring all of your liquid cash into one $10,000 account may be worth it if you get a set of golf clubs out of the deal. It is especially worth it if after the first month you close the account and put your life back in order. While the requirements may only cost you your time, it is worth investigating whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze.

4. HIT THE INTERNET

Internet banks can’t email kitchen gadgets, which means one thing; while everyone else is handing out toasters, they are good for cold, hard, cash.

Internet banks often have higher interest rates than brick and mortar banks, as they have significantly lower costs to maintain. For this reason, they can offer higher interest for existing customers and higher incentives to attract new ones. Checking out the Internet banks is a great way of getting free cash deposits with every new account, and since they sync up with your existing bank accounts, that cash is always just a click away.

5. REMEMBER—STUFF IS WORTH CASH

No bank goes into their break room and hands you the toaster off of their counter. The Tupperware, kitchen mixers and pots and pan sets that banks give away are all brand new and factory packaged, meaning that in most cases, they can easily be returned.

While few retail stores will give cash for a return without a receipt, almost all will give store credit. That means the unnecessary toaster could easily become $50 worth of necessary groceries, clothing, or movies, if you are willing to take the extra time to make a return.

6. PULL THE TRIGGER

All that is required now is time. For those willing to spend the time opening new accounts at several banks, only to take the free reward and then close those accounts, there could hardly be an easier payday.

Opening bank accounts is NOT the same as opening credit cards, which means opening and closing accounts won’t hurt your credit score. While it may not make you the most popular person on the block, it will make you the one with the most free stuff.

Conclusion:

We realize this is total abuse of the system, but the reality is that this system is designed to take such abuse. Most bank accounts stay open forever, as the hassle of closing them is just too much of a pain for most people to bother with. For this reason, banks will give new customers the moon, hoping that once they’re in, they’re in for life. Since many of these banks make billions of dollars in profit each year, and are government backed, a few extra toasters out the door won’t make a dent.

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