[IL, IN, OH, MI] First Merchants Bank $200 Checking Promotion

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Update 6/12/21: Deal is back, but bonuses have been slashed. $400 bonus is now $200 bonus for example. Hat tip to mothman69

Update: There might be a $500 bonus that is better for those doing the $400 bonus. The debit card transactions are not required No longer being offered

Offer at a glance

  • Maximum bonus amount: $200
  • Availability: Must reside in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio or Michigan
  • Direct deposit required: Yes, $500+
  • Additional requirements: Use promo code
  • Hard/soft pull: Soft pull 
  • ChexSystems: Yes
  • Credit card funding: Yes, up to $250 with a Visa or Mastercard No longer available
  • Monthly fees: $5-$20, avoidable
  • Early account termination fee: $50, 180 days
  • Household limit: One
  • Expiration date: December 31st, 2020

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • First Merchants Bank is offering a bonus of up to $400 when you open a new checking account account. The bonus you receive depends on the account you open, but for all accounts you need to complete the following requirements:
    • Use promo code 21CKSPRING
    • Complete at least 15 transactions within 60 days of account opening
    • Make a direct deposit of at least $500 within 60 days of account opening
  • Bonuses are as follows:
    • Earn $100 $50 for opening a new Carefree Checking Account
    • Earn $200 $100 for opening a new Advantage Checking Account
    • Earn $400 $200 for opening a new Elite Checking Account

The Fine Print

  • TO BE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROMOTION: to read: You must be a new First Merchants personal checking client. Clients with an existing personal checking account with First Merchants (either as the primary or secondary account holder) are not eligible. You must not have closed a personal checking account within 180 days of the promotion start date (on or after April 13, 2020). The primary account holder of the participating checking account must be 18 years old or older at the time of account opening and reside in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio or Michigan. First Merchants employee accounts are not eligible for this promotion.
  • Get up to $400 for opening a new First Merchants checking account. Earn $100 for opening a new Carefree Checking Account, earn $200 for opening a new Advantage Checking Account or First Direct Account, or earn $400 for opening a new Elite Checking Account AND by depositing at least $100 at account opening (First Direct Checking accounts can be opened with $0), completing 15 transactions within 60 days of accounting opening, and completing at least one direct deposit of $500 or more within the first 60 days after account opening. Offer valid for new First Merchants personal checking accounts opened from April 3, 2020, through December 31, 2020. Enrollment in the promotion is required. (See Account Opening & Enrollment Instructions below.)
  • After meeting the qualification requirements, the applicable reward will be credited to the new checking account up to 8 weeks after all qualifications are met. ‘Branch Checking Offer Reward” will appear on the monthly checking statement when the reward is credited to the account holder’s checking account. The reward amount will be based on the type of checking account open when First Merchants verifies that all promotional offer qualifications have been completed. Checking accounts closed within 180 days of opening will be charged a $50 account early closing fee. This promotion is only applicable once per client. First Merchants may report the value of any reward received through any offer to the Internal Revenue Service as required by law. Any applicable taxes are the responsibility of the recipient. In the event that we determine in our sole discretion that your account does not meet the eligibility criteria or the activity on your account does not qualify to meet the required conditions, we will not be obligated to credit your account with the reward payout.
  • All bank account bonuses are treated as income/interest and as such you have to pay taxes on them

Avoiding Fees

Monthly Fees

Elite Checking ($400 Bonus) – $20 Monthly Fee

This account has a $20 monthly fee, this is waived if you have $15,000 in combined personal deposit balances.

Advantage Checking ($200 Bonus) – $15 Monthly Fee

This account has a $15 monthly fee, this is waived if you do any of the following:

  • Make one direct deposit of at least $500 monthly, OR
  • Make 15 debit card transactions per month, OR
  • Maintain $1,500 minimum combined personal deposit balances OR
  • Are 62 years or older

Carefree Checking ($100 Bonus) – $5 Monthly Fee

This account has a $5 monthly fee. This is waived if you:

  • Are under 25 years of age
  • Make one customer-initiated transaction per month
  • Maintain $100 minimum combined personal deposit balances

Early Account Termination Fee

There is an early account termination fee of $50 if the account is closed within 180 days of account opening.

Our Verdict

Previously this bonus was targeted, but now looks to be open to everybody. Seems like a bonus that is worth doing, I’ll e adding this to our list of the best checking account bonuses.

Hat tip to @milleraus16

Useful posts regarding bank bonuses:





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