The Top 6 Lamest Bank Giveaways Ever

worst bank giveaways

Banks work hard to lure new customers in for their various products, and for the most part, their cool incentives do the trick. But every so often, financial institutions will fall flat when it comes to their giveaways, serving up epic fail bank promotions.

Bank Promotions Offer Great Account Incentives

In early May, C1 Bank in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. made headlines after announcing one of the best bank offers for new accounts in history: A brand new Mercedes for anyone who made a $1 million deposit into a 60-month jumbo certificate of deposit (CD).

The amazing incentive did come with a catch — the Mercedes served as a trade-off for the 1.20% APY that would have been earned on the 5-year CD.

Of course, for some, the incentive is absolutely worth it. For those who feel the terms aren’t good enough — or they don’t have $1 million to invest — there are usually other small deals for opening accounts, like $100 cash back or free bonus miles with an airline for opening a checking account.

While banks typically do a good job of offering exciting promotions, they don’t always get it right. In fact, there are some offers customers may wish they hadn’t been offered at all.

The Six Worst Bank Giveaways

So what are the six worst bank giveaways offered by banks in recent years? Here’s a list you won’t forget!

1. Toaster

bank offers for new accounts

This one is sort of old school — no banks really give away toasters anymore, but there was a time that toasters were handed out left and right to woo new checking account customers. Thank goodness they’ve faded away.

Well, that’s with the exception of SouthPoint Bank in Birmingham, Ala., which affectionately offered toasters to customers who signed up for checking accounts in 2010, to pay homage to the old tradition.

(Image: nist6ss)


2. T-Shirt

banking promotions

While some banks are giving away free cash and gadgets as banking promotions, others are passing out (drum roll) free t-shirts! That’s right, in return for opening a bank account, a few lucky bank customers are able to sport a cool shirt with the bank’s logo on their chest. Next time you’re out, take a look around to see how many proud customers you see wearing their giveaway.




3. Keychain

bank account promotions

One bank headquartered in California has offered people willing to open a checking account a free digital photo keychain. While the idea is cute due to its personalized nature, digital photo keychains can be purchased online for about $10. Compared to the $100+ gifts other banks are offering, this one sounds a little less cool.

(Image: kristin_a)

 4. Dinner Platter

bank promotions

Sure, there is always a need for a serving platter if you regularly entertain guests. Usually, however, people who entertain already have serving platters, and the rest of us who don’t entertain don’t need them. Yet one bank in the DC metro area has offered them as gifts to new customers. Who knows, maybe they understand their target audience better than we think.


5. Mystery Gift

bank promotions

We all know that mystery gifts rarely measure up to anticipation. Instead, you get a $1 potpourri bag and a bottle of blowing bubbles. If you find a bank is offering a mystery gift, before signing up yourself, find your guinea pig friend who will take a chance on just about anything.




6. Nothing

banking promotions

While a lucky few are able to run across bank account promotions when they’re actually seeking a new account, most of us who open new accounts venture into a financial institution, open an account and walk out empty-handed. Guess it’s not the bank’s fault we don’t wait around until they offer cool giveaways, huh?

The good news is many banks have jumped on board with offering cool promotions including iPods, digital cameras, GPS systems and gift cards. If you’re on the prowl for a new bank account, look around to see what incentives are being offered (don’t forget to check into the reputation of the institution, as well). You might find a deal you just can’t pass up!

  • Tom Lowe

    My defunct bank Pomona First Federal gave us all a pack of wildflower seeds and a March of Dimes calendar showing how kids in the barrio can take an old bicycle and make it into a piece of yard art.

  • T Mann

    When I read the title I thought the article was going to read something more like this;

    Top 6 Lamest Bank Giveaways Ever

    #1 US Congress gives away Constitutional right to print its own money, passes the Federal Reserve Banking Act of 19-whatever. (1913?) Lame!- their goes our sovereignty. Bring on the inflation and destruction of the dollar! Federal reserve of course is privately owned by…do your own research.

    #2 EU gives EU central bank complete control over Italy.

    #3 Same as above but Greece loses its sovereignty.

    #4 Banks declared “too big too fail” by W.Bush, gives even more power to the banks after bankers threaten martial law in 2008. No regulation whatsoever for US currency and world reserve currency, the US dollar! Way to go frat boy, now let’s party!

    #5 Glass Steagal act removed by Clinton and Co. essentially paving the way for the 2007/8 housing and banking crisis. I always wondered what caused the Great Depression? (picture encyclopdia guy from commercial 20 years ago “I always wondered where my mandibula was?”) Oh yeah, it was the lack of oversight and regulation that made the Glass Steagal Act so relevant in the first place…duh! It stopped banks from being casinos, not anymore.

    #6 Timothy Geitner gives $2 trillion American tax paying dollars that we have to borrow from China to the EU after the derivatives fiasco caused by the lack of Glass Steagal, which of course the European banks where going to sue the American banks for fraud. So instead Helicopter Ben prints $2 trillion we don’t have and gives it to the EU banks as hush money. All on my expnse and my children and grand childres expense.

    If this list doesn’t bother you, you are not paying attention. But hey, at least you get a toaster for signing up with the banks right?

  • @Tom Lowe

    Wow! Wildflower seeds definitely aren’t on a lot of lists for great giveaways (though I thought the March of Dimes calendar was thoughtful) 🙂

    @T Mann

    The article is taking a lighthearted look at some bank promotions that don’t measure up to the major items we’re used to seeing as giveaways. I appreciate, however, you sharing your thoughts on the broader aspect of banking. Thanks for reading!


  • Dave J

    @T Mann: I was thinking the exact same thing when I read the title.

  • T Mann

    Hi Stacy B.,

    If you really appreciate me sharing my thoughts you should hear about my disdain for fractional reserve banking sometime. The way banks are doing business is really not that different from a ponzi scheme. And then of course you get the in-between banks who launder money for drug dealers, governments, and arms dealers so that we have enough money to overthrow third world countries off the books and erect Shell oil fields and McDonalds. All in the name of democracy! How totally awesome is that?!



  • Dexter Barnett

    The last was the lamest…nothing! Not all banks are that generous and if they are it is still somewhat lacking for a bank client.