23 thoughts on “Update on US Bank’s $125 Power Up Checking and $50 START Savings Account Bonus


    Grant, here’s how you could have saved yourself some transfer dough.

    Instead of setting up the automatic transfer from checking — and I think that if you have it set for checking that you have to continually transfer that amount from checking each month for completing Start II if you want — you could and still can — have set up an automatic transfer from checking every time you use your US Bank credit card — in my case the no fee Club Carlson credit card.

    What’s more, unlike the minimum of $10 from checking to the Start savings account, you can designate as little as a quarter — yes, .25 cents — each time you swipe the card for a purchase.

    Since I do not plan much use of the card — in fact just used it at a Country Inn to get the 30,000 point CC point bonus by 8/31/15 — that .25 cents transfer completed START I for me and will activate START II — In addition, since the transfer is contingent on my use of the credit card, there is no automatic monthly deduction from my checking account to my START savings account.

    The latter is more important for those who signed up who DO NOT have a US Bank branch presence nearby.

    In any event, thanks for the post.

  2. Jay

    Argh….totally missed this moneymaker opportunity….I had it in my list but somehow I got busy and missed the deadline :(

  3. Sam

    Wait – do you have to freeze ARS credit reports before applying for checking acct? I don’t have USB credit cards yet. I applied for checking acct 10 days ago.

    When I login, I see that my goal 1 is $1500, not $1000. Why is that?

    1. Grant

      Hi Sam, you don’t need to freeze ARS/IDA to get a checking account. I’m not sure why you see $1500 requirement for savings. Did you apply during the $150 checking account bonus?

      1. Sam

        I applied for $125 bonus promotion. Didn’t see $150. Aug 10th was the deadline. I applied on 8th. By the time I got online access, I see the goal 1 is now $1500….

        1. HORACE


          You appear not to have done your homework on this somewhat confusing promotion.

          I read a number of blog posts elsewhere on the web, primarily on Slick Deals for a similar promotion that was launched last year, when the Checking Account bonus was $150.00, not the $125.00 offered this year.

          In any event, mention was made of the START promotion on that thread too, and a US Bank employee who is also a SD’er also mentioned not to fall into the trap of essentially having significant sums in your savings account when you convert it to a START account.

          Those sums already in the account will not count towards the $1,000.00 threshold, instead, you will have to add an additional $1000.00 to the savings account to earn the START bonus — which is totally separate from the Checking account bonus that you started this discussion.

          They are 2 different programs and please do not confuse others of this.

          From your brief — and confusing posts — it appears that you had $500 in your Savings Account when you converted it to START, and if so, then you naturally will need to have a total of $1,500.00 invested there for an entire year to obtain an additional $50 gift card.

          In addition, you need to make some sort of transfer from your checking account to complete START I and commence START II.

          As I told Grant above, I do no think I need to make any more Checking to Savings transfers as mine are tied to my using my Club Carlson credit card.

          Those who have tied the annual transfer form Checking to Savings to commence START, I do not know if they can de-link that transfer and continue being enrolled in START — or whether they still must transfer a minimum of $100 monthly from Checking into Savings in order to complete Start II.

          Finally, I decided to do the $125 Checking Account promotion — Thank you DOC — because who doesn’t want to earn an extra $125.00?

          What’s more, I recently took out the HHonors Reserve card, and have a $2,500 threshold spend to meet — and the $125.00 checking promotion permitted me to fund each of those accounts — savings and checking with a credit card — which you likely did, as well.

          The final difference, however, was that I knew that I would not have to spend any additional sums for the Checking account because I held the now essentially moribund Club Carlson credit card — but it was sufficient to get me free checking on that new US Bank checking account — and this was important for someone who does not have US Bank branches nearby.

          In summation, I hope that you have some means to get free checking from your now opened checking account, but if you don’t get a US Bank credit card of any flavor fast so that you don’t have to pay any fees for checking!

          Finally, it looks like you started START with $500 in savings (likely funded via a credit card) and therefore, you need to reach and then keep $1,500 in that Savings account for an entire year before you will get the START I and START II bonuses.

          1. Sam

            Horace – thanks for that detail response. Yes, I haven’t followed up earlier and rushed into the promo in last few days. Hence the sloppy query.

            So I had 500 in both savings and checking acct, funded by CC. My plan was as below:
            Transfer $500 from Checking to savings. This would meet Goal 1 and trigger $50 Visa Gift Card. Then transfer $975 from savings to Checking.
            Then transfer $525 via direct deposit to checking (triggers direct deposit and should get the bank bonus).There will be $25 in savings and $1500 in checking to avoid fee.

            The flaw in the plan was the first goal. I assumed it was 1000, but actually it is 1500. Should I deposit $500 MO in savings then?

          2. HORACE


            I don’t have the START in front of me, but as I recall I needed to have transferred int $1,000.00 into the START Savings portion of the account to trigger START I.

            As it happened I had sent an online question to US Bank on this and they called me back.

            Now, here is the real deal.

            I transferred in $500 into each via credit card.

            I let it sit for a couple of days as I am a conservative guy.

            The, I transferred out $499 from Savings into Checking.

            At no time did I start START!!!

            I then sent a couple of extra bucks via a cashback to my new Checking account.

            The, to fulfill the Checking promotion — which was either 1 Direct Deposit or 2 bill pays, and it is OR not and, as some people at US Bank might have you believe — I did 4 $1.00 bill pays to various cable companies and utilities to satisfy the Checking deal.

            They now show as complete so I expect — but have not received the $125 into my Checking account, yet, but I don’t expect any problem.

            After I felt satisfied about having completed that promotion, then — and only then — did I contact US Bank to have someone set up my START account.

            After he said it was set up, I had him transfer $1,000.00 from my Checking account into my Savings account that had that $1.00 remaining in it (remember transferred out $499 into Savings initially) leaving me with a balance of $1,001.00 in the START portion of the Savings account and about $10.00 in my Checking account (which eventually should receive the $125.00 for the Checking promotion).

            Now, I thought I was done with START I and would eventually receive my $50.00 gift card — BUT I WAS WRONG!!

            The guy who did the transfer was wrong in that I had not actually completed START I!!!

            Yes, I did fulfill the $1,000 funding of the Savings portion (and I like said, from the looks of it you need to put in $1,500 to get over that threshold), but he was wrong that I did not have to make any other sort of transfer.

            I still needed to set up a transfer mechanism to perhaps regularly fund the savings account.

            Now many probably do that transfer function before filling the savings account with $1,000.00 as it is sort of like a Christmas Club account, and they put a little into savings when they can — either thru a minimum $10.00 (or more) transfer from Checking to Savings on a monthly basis or those who have a US Bank credit card who can set up the transfer from checking to Savings with a set amount each time they use their credit card.

            I chose a .25 automatic transfer from Checking to Savings every time I use the CC credit card (which I plan to mostly sock drawer) — but for getting free checking from US Bank for having the card, to being able to initiate the .25 transfer which COMPLETED START I for me, it was quite useful.

            I now show START 1 Complete online and START II as commencing.

            I assume in 6-8 weeks I will receive the $50 gift card for completing START I and if I keep my dough in the savings account — which now shows a balance of $1,001.25 — for a year, I will receive a second gift card.

            As I tried to elaborate above, I don’t know whether once someone has put $1,000.00 into the savings portion of the START account & actually made some sort of automatic transfer from checking to that savings account, whether they can or cannot disengage the automatic monthly transfer that they have set up and still qualify for PHASE II of START.

            For me to complete START II, since I am a conservative guy, and there is not much difference anyway, I am going to keep $1,001.25 in the account and let it sit.

            For you, to complete START II it would appear that you actually have to dump another $1,000 into that account to trigger Bonus I — as long as you also do some sort of automatic checking transfer.

            Unknowns for you, and Grant and others —

            1) Once you hit your Bonus I target, and are still interested in perhaps pursuing Phase II, can you disengage the automatic monthly transfer from Checking to Savings — whatever that amount may be — without disrupting the START program. After all, it was a means to sock a little into a savings account from a checking account — thus the purpose of the automatic transfer, but if you disengage that feature, do you stop your savings/checking account from being viewed by US BANK as qualifying as a START account for the purposes of Bonus
            Phase II??

            2). Even if they say you can do that — thereby freeing you from feeding more from Checking (which I wish to keep low) into the savings portion of the account — your next question must be this — can you lower your savings portion to just $1,000 by withdrawing funds from savings after completing Phase I bonus.

            I think unfortunately you cannot — I think that you are stuck with keeping at a minimum $1,500 in the START account for the next year, if you wish to pursue Phase II.

            Now, i’m not going to look up the rules because they don’t really concern me and I hope you understand this, but my suggestion would be to contact US Bank and get the low down from them on these questions.

            The will certainly know the workings of their promotion better than I do, but I hope that I have pointed you in the correct direction as to what questions you might wish to ask them.

            Sorry for being so long-winded in my answer!

            Good luck to all!

          3. Grant

            I’m not sure if the automated transfers from checking to savings are necessary to complete the second goal. It might be and it might not be. I’m not going for that goal, so I couldn’t tell you.

          4. HORACE

            Sorry, a bit convoluted was my answer to a somewhat convoluted program(s) (since there are actually 3 promotions).

            You guys have to find out if you need to keep the automatic transfers going if you are going to do it for a year. Since I have mine set up to ding .25 every time I use my credit card — which will not be often!! — it is not important to me to have this definitive answer — for me it seems it will be sufficient to just have that mechanism in place during he year.

            For the monthly checking to savings transfers where you commit to a $10 ding to savings from checking, that may or may not be more of a cause of concern to you guys.

            If you must maintain the transfer mechanism — which seems reasonable on their end — then see if you can use that essentially useless CC credit card that you have, make a de minimus purchase on it with a .25 transfer like I set up and then SD, assuming that you made the $1,000 input into the START savings account.

            For me, as I have said, I only needed $1,000 and the .25 transfer. Others on the year ole SD thread appeared to have fallen into the same misunderstanding as Sam — but worse — they thought that just by having the $1,000 in their savings account and then converting it to START, that all they had to do was sit back.

            Actually, what they had to do was put another $1,000.00 into that account and therefore the amount that they had to keep month to month for a year was, $2,000 to qualify for START II.,

            Upon learning that, I think many just chalked up the promotion and took the $$ from the Checking account and from START I and called it a day.

            I might do that anyway, as well, and I think many did do this with no intention of completing START II.

  4. dave

    “The current checking account sign up bonus is $125 after receiving 1 direct deposit of $500 or more and making 2 bill payment transactions in the first month…” Grant the screenshot of the T&C you posted says “or” not “and.”

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  7. akhere

    Has anyone received another $50 bonus after meeting goal 2…?

    i met goal 2 more than 1 month ago.. but still not received…will it come as gift card and when?


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