Score $240 a Year Doing This One Thing

Zzzzzz. Oh, excuse me. I just made $240 in my sleep. What did I do — and what do you have to do? Here's the deal and my official disclaimer:

Deal: Open up an account with Santander Bank and they will pay you $20 a month ($240 a year).

Disclaimer: I am NOT an employee or a paid shill for Santander Bank. Just a frugalista who likes a good deal.

Get Your $20 a Month Bonus

1. Open an extra20 Account

Santander Bank has a lot of account options, so be sure that you choose the extra20 account to be eligible for the $20 monthly bonus. You'll be opening a checking account with just the necessary $25 deposit, and you get the bonus by enrolling in their direct deposit and BillPay options each month.

2. Use Their Automatic Direct Deposit and BillPay Feature Each Month

This is the core of the program — the reason you'll be earning your $20 bonus each month. You will receive $10 when you receive employer direct deposits totaling $1500 or more a month, and an additional $10 a month when you pay two monthly bills using their BillPay — for a total of $20 in passive income every month, or $240 a year. What counts as a direct deposit? From their website:

"Direct deposits include deposits made by the customer's employer or a federal or state government agency or retirement benefits administrator and generally payments made by corporations or other organizations. Direct deposits do not include deposits to an account that are made by an individual using online banking or an Internet payment provider such as PayPal."

3. Link an extra20 Savings Account to Your Checking Account

This actually happens automatically when you open your extra20 checking account because this is where Santander will deposit your bonus each month. The good news is that the amount to open and maintain it is low. All you need to open an extra20 savings account is $10 dollars.

Is It a Good Deal?

Personally, I think it's an awesome deal because my husband and I can fulfill the requirements without stressing about it, but everyone needs to examine their own situation to decide. If you can do it, I say go for it because where else can you basically get what amounts to $240 in interest a year from a bank? Not only that, while there is only one account allowed per person, there can be more than one account per household. That could mean $480 a year. Or if one person doesn't meet the deposit requirement, move it the other way. Open a joint account and have direct deposits going in from two people to get the bonus. It'll take a little bit of effort to set everything up initially, but either way, after that it's easy money.

Can It Really Be That Simple?

One person's simple can be another person's complicated, so having gone through the process, what I can say is that I found it to be straightforward. As long as you understand the bonus requirements, can follow directions (and keep all of the paperwork), and follow through on the requirements, you shouldn't have any problems. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. You Can Open the Account Online or at a Physical Branch

I've opened accounts online before, but because I wasn't familiar with this bank, I appreciated being able to walk into a local branch and talk with someone about this deal. They have physical locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

2. Know Your Fees and Penalties

There is a $10 monthly fee which is waived as long as you direct deposit the minimum $1500 a month. There is no ATM fee as long as you use a Santander machine within the 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Non Santander ATM usage will cost you $3 per transaction. If you close your account within the first 90 days you will be charged a $25 early termination fee.

3. Know What Level of Customer Service You Want and Need

I've read some comments about poor customer service, but no more or less than the other big banks. If you need or want a lot of attention, maybe this isn't the ideal bank for you. For me it's fine as it is not my primary financial institution and it's easy to move money between the two, but each person has to decide.

4. It's Not a Limited Time Offer

Though I'm just getting around to it, this offer has been available for a few years and is not one of those limited time deals. This made me feel more comfortable finally pulling the trigger and going for it.

So there you have it, one easy way to make $240 a year in your sleep.

Disclosure: This is an honest review and recommendation. Neither I nor Wise Bread was paid for this placement — the link provided to Santander Bank is not an affiliate link.

Have you signed up for an account? If so, are you glad you did? Let me know about your experience in the comments.

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