Santander Bank extra20 Checking: Effective 16% APY?

Santander Bank (formerly Sovereign Bank) has a new banking package called the extra20 checking and savings account that pays you up to $20 each month:

  • You must open both an extra20 checking and extra20 savings account.
  • Get a $10 bonus each month that you have direct deposits totaling $1,500.
  • If you qualify for the first $10, get another $10 bonus each month that you pay two bills from your extra20 checking account through Online BillPay.

$20 a month = $240 a year. If you choose to simply use this account to pay your bills, it shouldn’t be hard to keep a $1,500 average balance. Earning $240 on a $1,500 balance works out to a 16% APY. If you aggressively emptied your account after each direct deposit, you could increase this effective APY even more.

There is no monthly fee for the extra20 checking account with $1,500+ in total direct deposits (otherwise, $10). There is no monthly fee for the extra20 savings account if linked to an extra20 checking account. The bonuses are reported as interest on a 1099-INT. I have no idea how long they can keep this going, but it is quite a bold offer to promote their rebranding. I guess it depends on their marketing budget and also how many other people are paying overdraft fees, debit card merchant fees, and/or ATM surcharges.

A common question will be if an online bank transfer (ACH) would qualify as a direct deposit. I don’t know. My understanding based on similar past promotions is that if banks wanted to screen them out, they have to manually look at each transaction. The majority of the time they don’t go through the bother. Of course, if you have the ability to redirect or split your paycheck, that would be the safest bet.

Santander Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of the (big) Spanish Santander Group. FDIC-insured Certificate #29950. Branches are in the Northeastern US. I started the application using addresses in California and Oregon and it let me continue, so I am hopeful that this is available nationwide.

Comments

  1. Well that was one of my questions: is it possible to have half of your monthly paychecks direct deposited to one bank, and half to the other. It’s a big hassle to switch checking accounts with having to get new checks, making sure any auto deposits are switched, etc.

    What a nifty deal tho.

    • Good morning Fern,

      I would like to answer your questions about. With the Extra20 Checking, your first order of Checks are “Free”. Also Santander offers a product called “The Switch Service” which helps you move everything over from your other bank! (Bill pays, auto drafts and Direct Deposit) Changing banks is a pain and Santander simplifies it!

  2. I checked out Santander this morning after seeing a branch from the bus. I CANNOT find their CD or savings rates for the life of me on their site. I can see their miserable checking rates (0.80% for a minimum balance of $100k in one account) but no mention of savings. Any ideas where they’re locking away this information?

  3. On the surface this seems appealing, but a cursory google search shows some abysmal reviews, particularly with security. I’d hate to end up getting my account hacked or identity stolen just trying to reach for some extra yield.

  4. Any guarantee of the duration of this program? This seems like the type of thing they run for 6 months and then end. For some it might be worth chasing those “bonuses” but the time of watching and managing this likely exceeds most peoples value of their time, particularly with no longer term guarantee of benefits.

  5. Agree with Jeff … WAY too much work to jump through all of these hoops for what is likely to be a limited time promotion to generate growth.

    • This Extra20 Checking isn’t a promotion. It is a Checking Account. However long you decide to keep this account, will be how long the $20.00 will continue to keep coming in.

  6. Joshua Katt says:

    Tempting… Their home page says “that’s up to $1,200 in 5 years.” Of course it could be yanked in a moments notice. I’ve done and seen people chase stupider things for a lot less… Have to resist…

  7. Joshua Katt says:

    I also see they take a credit card for an initial deposit. Wondering if I can dump say $20,000 into it for points / cash back (only MC/V/Dis though). This may sweeten the deal…

  8. I believe the credit card deposit is limited to $500. Still something.

    I really don’t know how long this would last. My wild guess is 6 months very likely, 1 year likely, past that consider it gravy.

    • This Extra20 Checking isn’t a promotion. It is a Checking Account. However long you decide to keep this account, will be how long the $20.00 will continue to keep coming in.

  9. Well it would be really deceiving if it had lasted less than year considering that the home page advertises a 5 year return.

    Santander Consumer USA (that includes this bank) has an A+ rating at BBB, on the negative it did receive 3776 complaints (that compares with 2458 for Chase, 3943 for Bank of America & 6625 for Citi Bank) So I don’ know….

  10. They’re also doing 10% cash back on their credit card AND they’re telling me there’s no specified end date on the $20 thing.

  11. Jay, that 10% is just on the first $1000, so this is slightly worse than opening up a credit card that gives you a $100 bonus after spending $1000. I’m going to try this with a ACH push since I hate dealing with direct deposit.

  12. They offer a free switch service with this acct. the switch center will switch your Direct Deposit for you and switch over all you auto pays and bill pays for you too all for free!!! The Promo they say is good for the life of your acct.

  13. I opened an account with Sovereign a little over a year ago using Citi cc for the deposit. Not sure if it was because of Sovereign or Citi, but it was charged as an advance and I did not earn rewards (although Citi was kind enough to waive the fee for me).

    If you’re really committed to following up with customer service to ensure your issues are resolved, this may not be the bank for you.

  14. Deymond: I had the exact same experience before, so forget using citi cards for as deposit for ANY banks. You WILL be charged a cash advance fee. I think Chase credit cards may go through as purchase, but still it’s a bit of a gamble.

  15. Joshua Katt says:

    Just got a coupon in the mail for $175 if depositing $15,000 or more for 6 months into a 0.01% (absurd) savings account – “for all balances for all states”. Works out to 2.33%. I’m going to the branch later and will ask if anyone can get in on it or if its targeted…

  16. Joshua Katt says:

    Sorry, my bad, the above is Chase Bank.

  17. Joshua Katt says:

    I asked if my kids or girlfriend could open & get the same CHASE BANK bonus – or was it targeted – the banker hit some keys, gave me back the coupon and said it could be used again (although my name was all over it). So who knows?

    I got a receipt acknowledging the $175 and a ton of paperwork disclosures with slightly different terms, i.e. minimum balance requirement and .10% interest rate instead.

    So, YMMV. I bet similar promotions are going on Nationwide…

  18. Re: the Chase bonuses – have done them repeatedly for years…. “one such bonus per person per calendar year” is BS. Rates are so low and customer churn is so poor that banks resort to these offers just to attract some new accounts.

    Just get the confirmation (bonus receipt) from the banker and read the fine print about what to do – mainly, just open the account and fund it with money from outside Chase (i.e. deposit a check the day of opening or ACH afterwards). That’s all they want. Then, given their laughably miniscule rates, ACH out your 10 or 15k after the bonus posts or after a 3 month minimum (if applicable, again per the fine print). But keep the minimum (usually $300) in there to avoid triggering the service fee, wait 6 months, close the account, rise and repeat.

  19. Extra20 checking has a fee of $10, which is offset by the direct deposit bonus. The bill pay bonus still seems nice, but this promotion should probably be called Extra10 instead.

    • The $10 fee is waived if you get $1500 in Direct Deposit and also you get a $10 Bonus for $1,500 in DD and $10 for paying 2 Bill Payments. It doesn’t say anywhere that it is offset. I have had an Extra20 Checking and Savings for a year now. Every month I get my $20.00 Bonus.

  20. Noah: from what I understand the $10 fee is waived by 1500+ of direct deposit. So it’s both a carrot and stick when it comes to direct deposit requirement

  21. Serge, I hope that you’re right. I asked a branch manager today, possibly a misinformed one.

    • The $10 fee is waived with direct deposit. There is no average daily or minimum balance requirement either. You receive $10 bonus for direct deposit and $10 bonus for paying two bills/month online for a total monthly bonus of $20.

  22. Hmm, it makes me concerned about the competence of their people when it clearly states at https://www.santanderbank.com/us/personal/banking/checking/extra20-checking “No monthly charge with $1,500 or more in total direct deposits for the service fee period (otherwise, $10)”

    Also I did not receive my paperwork for almost three weeks after opening of the account. So a bit concerned about the way this bank works, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now…

  23. The advertising material I received in the mail says 5 years $1200. It’s more like rewarding the customers for their relationship rather than just giving $100 to open an account with countless tasks associated with it. This is a real reward program. CASH! instead of like thank you points.

    I went to inquire in a branch nearby on 108 Hudson Street, Tribeca, (212-219-1955) the staff were very professional and attentive. Made the process very easy. Everything was very simple and transparent.

  24. we’re now almost 6 months later and no signs of the program going away. glad i signed up.

  25. brian coyote says:

    Just signed up yesterday for this. easy money. I have $25,000 in a SmartyPig account that earns 1%. that’s about $20 a month.

    to get $20 from Santander for doing what I would do anyway with any other bank is awesome. Looking forward to getting it all set up.

  26. Hello,

    If anyone have any questions or concerns about the Extra20 please feel free to contact me. I work at the Tribecca Branch in NY.

    Best,

    Syed Misbah
    212-219-1955
    Smisbah@santander.us

  27. Joe Staley says:

    Do ACH pushes into the Extra 20 account count as a “direct deposit”? Ex. Push in 1500 each month from Alley.

  28. Yeah, the ACH push is what I really need to know. I literally don’t make enough to direct deposit $1500 a month.

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