Brokerage Transfer Bonuses: Monster Comparison, January 2024

The beginning of the year is typically a great time for brokerage bonuses.  As we approach tax season, brokerages compete to win your IRA contributions and offer compelling bonuses to entice you to transfer your investments to them.  

Here is a list of outstanding offers for you to earn a bonus by transferring your investments.  

What differentiates this resource from other “best of” lists is the comparison of terms, hold times and APY information to help you find the best offers for you.  Comparing these different accounts is really apples and oranges and the devil is in the details.  Look closely at the APY chart to make your own evaluation – and be sure to check out the spread with returns from a paltry .3% to a massive 20%!

This is something I usually do on the back of an envelope for us, but since I’ve received a couple of requests for help, I’ve created this resource as a labor of love for you, my friends and family.

P.S. A few of these offers expire as early as 1/31/24 so don’t sleep on this information!

BROKERAGE TRANSFER BONUSES, COMPARED

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USING THIS RESOURCE, DEFINITION OF TERMS

Offers (links) – Merrill Lynch, Schwab (uncompensated referral), Chase Self-Directed, Chase Private Client, Citi Wealth Management, Etrade, Firstrade, Webull, Robinhood, Robinhood IRA, Moomoo, Public, M1, Tradestation

Transfer bonus – most of these account bonuses require a transfer of assets.  This is referred to as an ACAT or ACATS transfer. This stands for Automated Customer Account Transfer Service.  You will need to tell the new brokerage if you want a partial transfer or a full transfer, your current brokerage, your current brokerage account number and possibly provide a current statement. Check the terms for what assets are able to be received; many brokerages do not support the transfer of mutual funds and may liquidate them if you choose a full transfer.  When you choose a transfer of assets in kind, this is NOT a taxable event.  Most of the bonuses are for particular deposit/transfer limits.  The numbers shown are for the minimum required deposits/transfers.  A few bonuses are a flat percentage or transfers (Robinbood, Webull), so all possible levels are not represented on this chart.

APY – this shows the Annual Percentage Yield of the bonuses.  While the bonuses read simply, the APY takes the required holding time into account.  The shortest hold time represented here is one month while the longest is five years.  This hold time makes a huge difference. For example a $1,000 investment that pays $100 for a one year holding period represents a 10% APY; a $1,000 investment that pays $100 in five years represents a 2% APY and a $1,000 investment that pays $100 in six months represents a 20% APY.  Even though the hold times are different, APY is used to help evaluate and compare different offers.  

Open by – this is your deadline for opening an account.  

Deadline to fund – this is how long you have to fund the account.  Keep in mind that transfers can take a little time.  Note if the terms indicate when the funds need to be received or when the transfer needs to be initiated.  

Required hold – this is how long you need to keep funds in the account.  I have used the language from the terms.  Note that some require a number of days.  Different brokerages represent this differently; some indicate days from opening the account while others calculate a period from initial funding while others indicate days following the funding period.  Take note of the terms and make sure to translate these figures into actual dates, i.e. 30 days from March 1 is March 31, etc.  When participating in multiple offers, it is particularly important to note the terms and deadlines in your notes.

Additional requirements – some offers have codes that need to be entered when applying for an account.  One requires a referral (uncompensated).  One must be opened in a branch.  Always look at the actual terms linked in this article.

Open to existing customers – some brokerages allow you to participate in more than one offer like Citi, Chase, Moomoo, Webull and Robinhood.  Others, like Schwab, are once per customer.

IRA eligible – these accounts allow for the transfer of your retirement accounts.  This is an excellent, excellent way to boost the return on your portfolio.  Since this money is locked up for some time, why not earn some extra money on top of your investment returns?

When is the bonus received – while one of these bonuses pays out as quickly as five business days after your deposit, some have you waiting quite some time.  Most pay as a lump some while others take years of installments.

Where is the bonus received – most deposit the bonus into the account that was opened while others require a separate brokerage account to receive IRA bonuses.  Receiving a bonus in an IRA is typically preferable because it will receive the same preferential tax treatment as the IRA.

Reimburses fees from ACAT transfer – many brokerages charge a fee when you withdraw funds vai a transfer.  Typically this can be about $75 for a full transfer and possibly less for a partial transfer, please check with your brokerage directly.  Having these fees reimbursed means there is nothing to lose in moving your investments for a bonus opportunity.  If you plan on doing more than one bonus, plan on ending up with one that will reimburse fees.

Fee for partial transfer out – this is what the brokerage will charge when you transfer out part of your portfolio.  Sometimes, leaving a small amount $150-200 in the account will mean you are not charged any fees.  Avoiding fees helps you keep more of your bonuses.  

Fee for full transfer out – same as above but for transferring your entire account.  When does a $100 bonus not look so attractive?  When you need to pay $75 to more to a new brokerage and you are only left with $25 profit. It pays to think ahead and be strategic.

STACKING NEW ACCOUNT BONUSES

Moomoo is also offering a bonus for signing up for a brokerage account.  When you sign up and deposit $100 you’ll receive 5 free stocks. If you deposit $1000 or more you’ll receive 15 free stocks.  Thanks in advance if you use my referral.  Offer expires 2/29/24.

Robinhood is offering 2 free stocks when you signup for a new account. Stocks are worth $3-$100 each; rewards must be claimed within 60 days.

Webull has a tiered bonus for opening and funding a new account. Receive 6 fractional shares (valued between $3-$3,000) when you deposit any amount, receive 20 fractional shares when you deposit $500+, receive 75 fractional shares when you deposit $25,000+. Expires 1/31/24.

***This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute investment advice.  None of these transfer bonuses result in referral compensation.  Schwab requires a referral to open but the referrer is not compensated. 

If you happen to open a new account at Webull, Moomoo or Robinhood, I will receive a referral bonus.  Thank you in advance for using any referrals, they help fund the upkeep of this site.

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