American consumers have seemingly limitless choices in bank accounts, from online only banks to traditional brick-and-mortar financial institutions. Recently, consumers have been gravitating toward big banks for their reputations of stability. U.S. Bank, member FDIC, offers a generous sign-up bonus of up to $400 right now when you open a U.S. Bank Smartly checking account and a Standard Savings account.
About U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest commercial bank in the U.S., with $587 billion in assets and more than $24 billion in annual revenue, putting it at 150 on the Fortune 500 list. This national bank has more than 2,000 brick-and-mortar branches across 26 states. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank, a global corporation headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.
The bank offers a range of financial products, including:
- Smartly checking accounts
- Safe Debit Account (provides a debit card but no checks)
- Standard Savings Account
- Elite money market accounts
- Individual Retirement Account Money Market Fund
- Business banking
U.S. Bank’s retail branches have a footprint in only 26 states, primarily across the West and Midwest. But U.S. Bank customers span the country, banking through the U.S. Bank Mobile App. The company reports that 80% of consumer transactions take place online or through the app.
Is U.S. Bank FDIC insured?
U.S. Bank is FDIC insured, which means it holds Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance for up to $250,000 per account holder, the maximum allowable limit. Since U.S. Bank, Member FDIC, allows joint account holders, that insurance doubles if there are two account holders.
What Is U.S. Bank Smartly?
U.S. Bank Smartly Checking is U.S. Bank’s most popular personal checking account product. The checking account provides a U.S. Bank Visa debit card that you can use fee-free at U.S. Bank ATMs as well as at MoneyPass Network ATMs. It also comes with overdraft protection, and access to rewards through the U.S. Bank Smart Rewards program.
The checking account does have a $6.95 monthly fee, but that can be waived if you meet certain requirements, such as holding a minimum average account balance. You’ll need a $25 minimum opening deposit to open your account.
How to Avoid Monthly Maintenance Fees
With so many checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fees, you might wonder if it’s worth paying $6.95 per month for a Bank Smartly account. The fact is, you don’t have to pay the monthly maintenance fee if you meet a few requirements.
First, if you’re a member of the military or are under the age of 24 or over the age of 65, you’ll pay no monthly fee.
If you don’t fall into one of those categories, you can waive the monthly maintenance fee with combined monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more, or by keeping a minimum average account balance of $1,500 or more in your account. U.S. Bank will also waive the monthly fee if you have a U.S. Bank credit card or qualify for one of the U.S. Bank Smart Rewards tiers.
Earn Interest on your U.S. Bank Checking Account
U.S. Bank Smartly Checking is one of the rare interest earning checking accounts you’ll find in a traditional bank. Earn between 0.001% and 0.005% annual percentage yield, depending on your region, your account balance and current interest rates. That isn’t a lot of money, but it’s a nice added benefit, especially if you carry a high balance and qualify for the highest tier of interest rates.
U.S. Bank Smartly Promo Code Bonus
While U.S. Bank Smartly’s interest rates may be nothing special, the sign-up bonus is sure to turn heads. Now through June 20, 2023, you can earn up to $400 when you open a new Bank Smartly Checking Account and a Standard Savings account. You’ll need to complete some qualifying activities before you’ll receive that hefty deposit, so read closely.
How to Earn Up to $400 Bonus Cash: Qualifying Activities
Who wouldn’t want to earn $400 cash? First, open your U.S. Bank Smartly checking account with at least $25 minimum opening deposit. You can do this by phone, online, or in a U.S. Bank branch. Then, you’ll need to open and a Standard Savings account and complete qualifying activities to earn your bonus.
First, enroll in the U.S. Bank Mobile App or online banking. Then, complete two or more direct deposits totaling $3,000 or more into your account within 90 days. The bonus you earn once you complete qualifying activities depends on the amount of your direct deposits.
Keep in mind, U.S. Bancorp will send you a 1099-INT form indicating your bonus received and you may be responsible for paying state or federal taxes on the funds. Bank promotions continue to grow in popularity as consumers are faced with more choices than ever before.
This U.S. Bank promotion is one of the most lucrative if you are willing to set up online banking and meet the combined monthly direct deposits for the offer.
Features and Benefits
In addition to a generous sign-up bonus and the ability to earn interest, your checking account offers many other benefits. A U.S. bank account combines the best of a traditional bank with the convenience of mobile banking services. It also has a vast network of ATMs where you can use your debit card without ATM transaction fees.
Your account may charge up to $36 in overdraft fees if your overdraft is more than $50. But you can avoid this charge in a few different ways.
The Overdraft Fee Forgiven program does not charge fees if you transfer or deposit money to bring your account balance positive by 11 PM EST on the first day your balance went negative. If you have Overdraft Protection, U.S. Bank will move money from your standard savings account into your Bank Smartly Account to cover the negative balance, with no Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee.
Finally, remember that there’s no charge if your overdraft is less than $50 in the negative.
Fortunately, U.S. Bank also offers numerous features that can help you manage your money and avoid overdrafts, too. You can use the mobile app to set up automated budgeting for different spending buckets, such as groceries, bills, or entertainment. You can look back to track your spending, free up extra cash to deposit into your personal savings account, and manage your money better.
The personalized Insights tool in the mobile app, combined with the Goals tool, helps you identify your spending and savings habits, and then create a plan to save for a specific purchase or build your emergency savings.
Use automatic transfers to save, pay yourself first by transferring a specific amount or a percentage of every deposit, or round-up your debit card purchases with the extra money going into your linked U.S. Bank savings account.
Set up account alerts to receive reminders about upcoming due dates. Get an alert when your balance dips lower than you’d prefer. You can also set text or email alerts when transactions occur, so you are better equipped to spot fraud or unusual activity immediately.
Other Digital Banking Features
As U.S. Bank revealed in a fact sheet on the bank website, 80% of U.S. Bank customers use digital banking services and mobile banking tools.
You can use the app for mobile check deposit and online bill pay and to lock or unlock your debit card.
Access Smart Rewards™
The U.S. Bank Smart Rewards program delivers incredible value to customers based on the total of your deposit accounts and certain loan products with U.S. Bank. Your combined daily balance in U.S. Bank personal savings accounts, your checking account, money market accounts, and investments or personal trust accounts determine your eligibility for different tiers of Smart Rewards.
If you have a U.S. Bank home mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, or unsecured personal loan can also qualify you for the Primary tier of the four Smart Rewards levels.
There are four Smart Rewards Tiers beyond the basic membership in the program:
- Core benefits (which you can achieve with less than $20,000 in a combined minimum daily balance across deposit accounts)
- Primary ($20,000 to $49,999.99 average account balance in deposit accounts)
- Plus ($50,000 to $99,999.99 average account balance in deposit accounts)
- Premium ($100,000 to $249,000 in deposit accounts)
- Pinnacle ($250,000+ in deposit accounts)
Benefits for Smart Rewards Customers
Smart Rewards customers earn growing rewards based on their minimum daily balance.
Some of the perks may include:
- Waived non-U.S. Bank ATM fees
- Enjoying reimbursement on non-U.S. Bank ATM surcharges
- Free trades through U.S. Bancorp Investments
- Interest rate lifts on your savings accounts
- Mortgage loan closing credits
- Annual fee waived on your Individual Retirement Account
- Access to other financial services such as a complimentary consultation
Some of these benefits only apply to members of the Primary tier and above. Take note that balances in business or commercial accounts, or existing balances on your U.S. Bank credit card, are not used to calculate your Smart Rewards tier.
Pros and Cons of U.S. Bank Smartly Checking Account
U.S. Bank Smartly offers a lot of benefits to customers, including accessible customer service, interest earning capabilities, and access to the Smart Rewards program for added benefits. What are some of the pros and cons to help you evaluate this account?
- Easy to waive the monthly service fee by making monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000 or maintaining an account balance of $1,500)
- Bank offers up to $400 sign up bonus if you meet direct deposit requirements
- Mobile Check Deposit
- Overdraft fee forgiven program
- Smart Rewards program
- $6.95 monthly service fee (if you don’t meet direct deposit or other requirements)
- Overdraft fee
- Minimum deposit of $25 required to open account
- ATM fees on non-U.S. Bank or non MoneyPass network ATMs
How to Deposit Money into Your Bank Smartly Account
It’s easy to get started opening your Bank Smartly checking account with a minimum deposit of just $25.
Remember, when you set up direct deposits totaling $1,000 per month, or more, you can waive the monthly service fee. And when you deposit $3,000 in your account in the first 90 days, you’ll earn a $200 bonus. That bonus can increase to as high as $400 with direct deposits of $10,000 or more in the first 90 days.
To get started, you can deposit money through:
- Mobile check deposit in the mobile app
- Visit a branch or ATM to deposit a check or cash
- Send a wire transfer from another bank account into your U.S. Bank account.
Other U.S. Bank Checking Accounts to Consider
U.S. Bank also offers the Bank Safe Debit Account, with a $4.95 monthly service fee. The Bank Safe Debit Account does not offer paper checks, but provides many of the same benefits as other U.S. Bank accounts. You will need a $25 minimum deposit to open the account.
Your Bank Safe Debit Account offers easy online bill pay, a U.S. Bank Visa debit card, access to mobile banking tools, Zelle, and more.
Plus, there are additional benefits such as no overdraft fees, discounts on money orders, and access to your VantageScore 3.0 credit score through the TransUnion CreditView Dashboard.
U.S. Bank Smartly Checking vs. U.S. Bank Safe Debit Account: Which Is Best?
If you are looking for a straightforward checking account with a low monthly service fee, no overdraft fees, and access to a Visa debit card, a Bank Safe could be the best choice for you.
A debit card account is also a good choice for a parent and teen. An adult can open a joint account with a child ages 14 to 17, giving the teen access to their own debit card and tools to learn better money management at a young age.
If you are interested in a cash bonus and a way to waive monthly fees, consider a Bank Smartly account, instead.
U.S. Bank Checking Accounts vs. Chase Checking Accounts
U.S. Bank has just two checking account options:
- The Safe Debit account is for beginners or the underbanked, who need basic checking with a debit card and a low monthly maintenance fee.
- Smartly checking is designed to appeal to most other customers, especially those looking for a generous sign-up bonus.
Chase Bank, the largest bank in the U.S. based on assets, is offering a $200 sign-up bonus for new Chase Total Checking customers who meet requirements.
As with Smartly checking, it’s relatively easy to meet requirements to waive monthly fee or have your overdraft fee forgiven.
Chase has other accounts checking accounts, too, depending on your needs. These include:
- Chase Secure Banking
- Chase Premier Plus Checking
- Chase First Banking for kids, which provides a debit card and parent-owned account for kids ages 6 to 17
- Chase High School Checking & Chase College Checking
- Chase Sapphire Banking and Chase Private Client Checking for high-net worth customers. Chase Bank provides more options for customers at every stage of their financial life. But U.S. Bank is a reputable financial institution where your money will be safe.
Who Is U.S. Bank Smartly Checking Best For?
If you plan to make enough monthly direct deposits to earn the $400 sign-up bonus, you’ll want to open your Smartly checking account before the offer expires on June 20, 2023. If you are looking for a straightforward bank account where it’s easy to waive the monthly maintenance fee, have an overdraft fee forgiven, and earn Smart Rewards, this account could be the best choice for you.
What APY does Smartly® Checking offer?
The annual percentage yield on your Bank Smartly account depends upon your region and the current prime interest rate. The U.S. Bank Smartly interest calculator shows an annual percentage yield of 0.001% up to 0.005%, depending on your account balance. The higher the account balance, the higher interest rate you will earn.
Does Smartly® Checking charge overdraft fees?
Bank Smartly checking charges overdraft fees of $36 every time your account has a negative balance of more than $50. However, you can have these fees forgiven if your available balance by 11 PM on the day your account was overdrawn is $0 or more, U.S. Bank will waive the overdraft paid fee.
You can also sign up for overdraft protection with no fee. If you have a linked deposit account, such as a U.S. Bank savings account, U.S. Bank will transfer funds from that account to cover your overdraft with no fee.
Are checking accounts from U.S. Bank federally insured?
Yes, accounts from U.S. Bank, member FDIC, are federally insured up to $250,000 per account holder. Joint accounts are insured up to $500,000.
Does U.S. Bank offer free checking?
Your Smartly checking account is not free, but it’s easy to waive the monthly fee.
Is U.S. Bank trustworthy?
U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest commercial bank in the U.S. based on assets held. Accounts are FDIC insured. And the bank customer service department is available 24/7 by phone at 800-USBANKS. You can also reach out for help through the mobile banking app or at branches in 26 states during branch business hours.