If you're looking for a new brokerage, consider opening your account with one of these institutions. They’ll pay you a new account bonus on certain account types if you meet minimum deposit requirements and keep your account open for a specified length of time. (All promotional data presented is accurate as of September, 2019.)

Key Takeaways

  • With discount brokers cutting client fees and offering $0 trading commissions, the competitive landscape has never been better for individual investors and savers.
  • In order to lure in new clients (or steal them from the competition), many financial firms offer financial incentives to those who qualify.
  • Here, we present just five such offers that include cash bonuses, free trading, and higher than market incentive rates on savings products.

Charles Schwab: $100 Bonus or 500 Commission-Free Trades 

Charles Schwab is offering a $100 referral bonus with a $1,000 deposit into a new Schwab brokerage account. You can also get 500 commission-free trades with a $100,000 deposit; this deal is good for two years following the opening of the new account.

Toward the end of 2019, Schwab has announced that it will soon introduce unlimited commission-free online trading on most stocks and ETFs for all clients.

Motif Investing: 3 Free Months

On offer now at Motif Investing is 3 free months of their Motif BLUE Unlimited automated investment service. The offer is good only for first-time customers and is available when the new brokerage account application is approved.

For subscriptions starting at $4.95 per month, Motif BLUE provides automated investing and rebalancing, real-time quotes, unlimited trading, and more.

$100 Bonus + 3.75% 40-Month IRA CD at Navy FCU

Navy Federal Credit Union is offering a $100 bonus, and it's available nationwide. Investors taking advantage of this deal will also have access to an attractive CD rate of 3.75 percent APY when you open a new IRA CD.

To qualify for the bonus, the new account must be funded with an opening balance of at least $100 within 45 days of account opening. The bonus will be deposited into the account within 30 days of the qualifying opening deposit.

Ally Invest $3,500 Cash Bonus + 90 Days of Commission-Free Trades

Available at Ally is an Ally Invest $3,500 Cash Bonus Offer, which offers a $3,500 cash bonus and commission-free trades for 90 days when you open a new Ally Invest account. To qualify:

1. Open a new Self-Directed Trading account by January 31, 2019.

2. Fund your account within 60 days of account opening to earn a bonus based on your deposit amount:

  • $3,500 Bonus + Free Trades for $2,000,000+ Deposit or Transfer
  • $2,500 Bonus + Free Trades for $1,000,000+ Deposit or Transfer
  • $1,200 Bonus + Free Trades for $500,000+ Deposit or Transfer
  • $600 Bonus + Free Trades for $250,000+ Deposit or Transfer
  • $300 Bonus + Free Trades for $100,000+ Deposit or Transfer
  • $200 Bonus + Free Trades for $25,000+ Deposit or Transfer
  • $50 Bonus + Free Trades for $10,000+ Deposit or Transfer

3. Receive the bonus cash credit to your account within 10 business days of meeting the promotional requirements.

4. Once the account is credited, the bonus and initial qualifying deposit are not available for withdrawal for 300 days after the requirements have been met.

Get up to 500 commission-free trades at E*TRADE, plus up to a $600 cash credit

If you decide to go with an E*TRADE account, there are a few things you'll need to know. First, you must fund your account within 60 days by transferring funds from an external source. Here's how it works:

  • Deposit at least $10,000 into your new account.
  • Get up to 500 commission-free trades for stocks or options within 60 days of funding your new trading account. This excludes options contract fees.
  • Your first 29 stock or options trades are charged $6.95 (plus $0.75 cents for each options contract), while trades after that are charged $4.95 (plus $0.50 per options contract) up to 500 trades.
  • Commissions are credited back to your account within a week of the settled trade.
  • E*TRADE does not compensate for any unused commission-free trades.
  • There is a separate commission schedule for stock plan account transactions.

E*TRADE makes credits for cash or securities within 60 days of the account open, depending on deposits to the account from external sources. Credits are made within a week after the 60-period. Here's how the credit is broken down:

  • Deposit $1,000,000+, receive $2,500 + commission-free trades
  • Deposit $500,000–$999,999, receive $1,200 + commission-free trades
  • Deposit $250,000–$499,999, receive $600 + commission-free trades
  • Deposit $100,000–$249,999, receive $300 + commission-free trades
  • Deposit $25,000–$99,999, receive $200 + commission-free trades
  • Deposit $10,000–$24,999, receive only commission-free trades

Toward the end of 2019, E*Trade has announced that it will soon introduce unlimited commission-free online trading on most stocks and ETFs for all clients.

The Bottom Line

These promotions aren’t a good way to make a quick buck, and the bonuses are relatively small, often 1 percent or less of the amount you’re required to deposit. What's more, in many cases, taxes or commissions will erode the value of your bonus.

An account-opening bonus is, however, a good incentive to give a brokerage, bank or credit union a closer look if you were thinking about opening a new account anyway. Just make sure the account type you’re opening is the best option for your long-term needs, that you’ll still come out ahead after any fees and that you aren’t depositing money you might need in the near term.