I’ve written before about my love/hate relationship with bank bonuses. It is definitely a more tedious process compared to applying for credit cards. You normally have to perform several tasks in order to finally get your sweet payoff, and occasionally, the banks will try to weasel out of it. On top of it, just setting up an account may require a phone call or two. I honestly don’t remember the last time when signing up for a bank promo went smoothy for me.
For those reasons I rarely get my husband involved in the process, and usually only set up accounts in my name. Despite the drawbacks, the ROI on my time is tremendous, and I can certainly use extra cash to pay for all of my upcoming travel plans in 2018. Unfortunately, the fact that you need to be detail oriented (which I’m not) often works against me.
Not paying enough attention to fine print
You may remember this Wells Fargo promo from earlier in the year:
At first, the offer contained “targeted” language, so I decided to skip it. But when I saw that it was finally open to anyone, I decided to go for it. And why not? Who doesn’t like receiving $250 in exchange for making 10 payments? I actually skip promos that require direct deposit. I realize that other methods will sometimes trigger it, but it just feels sketchy to me.
Anyway, I set up an account, deposited $1,500 in order to avoid monthly fees and scheduled 10 payments. The terms were fulfilled… or so I thought.
Five months later, and no bonus in sight
I know that some banks take their sweet time depositing bonuses, so I wasn’t too concerned at first. Then I saw that many were having trouble with Wells Fargo honoring the deal. Great. Time to make some phone calls. I wanted to send a secure message to Wells Fargo, but couldn’t make it work. So, I contacted them over the phone. Mistake number one: I didn’t save the screenshot of the offer and WF rep couldn’t find any info on it in my account.
Fortunately, Doctorofcredit blog had the post in its archives. So, I simply gave the rep instructions on how to find the info. He told me they would investigate it and would get back to me in one or two days. A week later I still haven’t heard anything, so made a second phone call. After a long wait, I finally got someone and had to explain the whole thing yet again. As you can imagine, no investigation was actually done on my behalf despite promises to the contrary.
I insisted on them taking care of the matter because I didn’t trust Wells Fargo to follow through. So, I was transferred to another department and a nice rep seemed eager to help me. Once again, I told him how to find the terms of the promo on Doctorofcredit blog, which he did. He told me that as long as I have fulfilled the requirements, he would credit the $250 bonus.
I was starting to feel giddy inside, alas, my joy was short-lived. Turns out, I’ve scheduled payments via Bill Pay online, and those don’t qualify. I had to use my actual debit card. My heart sank at the realization of my stupidity. The rep was apologetic, but there was nothing he could do. Case closed. I gave Wells Fargo an interest-free loan for 5 months. That lady on the promo page (the one who is smiling from ear to ear), she represents the bank.
Cover your butt!
Literally and figuratively. Remember the character of Vitruvius from the “Lego Movie”? There is a scene where he says: “He is coming. Cover your butt”:
I think this is a good principle to live by when it comes to bank bonuses. If they require 10 purchases, go with 12, just in case few don’t register. Et cetera, et cetera. The bigger the bonus, the more careful you should be. Honestly, how hard was it for me to make those darn 10 debit card purchases? Not hard at all.
Sure, I like to use credit cards in order to get closer to collecting new sign-up bonuses. Still, making 10 purchases at McDonald’s that total $5 each surely wouldn’t make a huge difference, would it? As a result of my own stupidity, I missed out on $250 (a bit less since bank bonuses are taxable).
I’m not giving up on bank bonuses
Say what? Like I’ve said before, I’m not perfect when it comes to this hobby and make mistakes on a regular basis. I view each fail as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. As always, it’s important to look at the big picture and overall, I still come out ahead. I make sure to record my hobby adventures in the blog: the good, the bad and the ugly. This definitely falls into “ugly” category. On to the next one.
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.