What Counts as a Direct Deposit When It Comes to Bank Sign-Up Bonuses?

A man taking money from wallet

A lot of bank account sign-up bonuses require a direct deposit, but not all banks have the same view on what counts as a direct deposit.

Below I’ll list the best bank sign-up bonuses and what they consider a direct deposit! This will help those who recently signed up to get $600 bonus from Chase or the $400 bonus from Wells Fargo I wrote about recently.

What is a direct deposit?

Most people think direct deposits are when you electronically deposit your employer’s paycheck or government benefits to your savings or checking account.

While that’s true, you don’t necessarily need to do that when it comes to bank sign-up bonuses. Changing where your paycheck or benefits are deposited can also be time-consuming.

Luckily, banks are more flexible on what they count as a direct deposit when it comes to bonuses. Transferring money from one of your existing bank accounts to the new bank account will also work in a lot of cases.

The list below shows what banks count as a direct deposit simply by transferring funds with an electronics fund transfer (EFT). Just be sure you’re making a push transfer and not a pull transfer – more on this below.

Each bank is different on what counts so be sure to use one of the ones listed under the specific bank you’re applying for.

We’ll keep this post as a running list, so bookmark this page as a future reference to see what banks count as a direct deposit when it comes to bank account opening sign-up bonuses.

What is the difference between a push or pull transfer?

You should always do a push transfer and not a pull transfer in order to qualify bank bonuses. What’s the difference between the two?

  • Push Transfer: You’re logging on to an existing bank account and transferring money to your new bank account (pushing a deposit)
  • Pull Transfer: You’re logging into your new bank account and requesting money to be sent to it from another bank account you have (pulling a deposit)

For all other intents and purposes, there really isn’t a difference between to two, but for triggering bank bonuses, banks see a push transfer as something that qualifies as a direct deposit.

List of Banks (in alphabetical order)

BBVA

  • Capital One 360
  • Charles Schwab
  • Fidelity
  • First Tech Credit Union
  • Merrill Edge
  • PayPal (seems to no longer work as of 2/2020)
  • Provident Credit Union
  • TD Ameritrade

Citizens Bank

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • ACH
  • Alliant
  • Ally Bank
  • Capital One 360
  • Charles Schwab
  • Chase Bank
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Santander Bank
  • Vanguard
  • Venmo transfers

Chase Bank

For Chase, if your transfer has the description “PPD ID/ACH Transfer”, most likely that means it’s a valid transfer that will trigger the bonus.

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • Amazon Payments
  • Ameritrade
  • Capital One 360
  • Discover Savings
  • Elements Financial
  • Fidelity Investments
  • First Technology Credit Union
  • Goldman Sachs
  • M&T Bank
  • Orion Federal Credit Union
  • PenFed
  • Robinhood
  • Santander Bank (mixed reports since 2020)
  • SoFi Invest
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Transferwise
  • Vanguard
  • Wealthfront

Discover

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • Amazon Seller Disbursements
  • American Express Serve
  • Bank of America Business ACH
  • Capital One 360
  • Fidelity
  • Paypal
  • TD Ameritrade

HSBC

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • Ally
  • American Express Bluebird
  • Capital One 360
  • Charles Schwab
  • Chase
  • Discover
  • PNC Checking
  • Robinhood
  • Santander
  • SoFi Money
  • Wells Fargo

KeyBank

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • ACH
  • American Express Serve
  • Capital One 360
  • Chase (but instant transfers)
  • Discover (but not savings)
  • E*Trade
  • Huntington
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Paypal
  • Stripe Transfer
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Transferwise
  • USAA
  • Wells Fargo
  • Venmo

PNC Bank

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • Alliant
  • Ally
  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • Capital One 360
  • Chase
  • Fidelity
  • PayPal
  • PenFed
  • Transferwise
  • Venmo transfers
  • Wells Fargo (mixed reports)

Santander Bank

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • Alliant
  • American Express
  • Capital One 360 (mixed reports, I wouldn’t depend on this method alone)
  • BMO Harris
  • Chase
  • Charles Schwab
  • Fidelity
  • PayPal (no longer valid)
  • Wells Fargo
  • Venmo transfers

Wells Fargo

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • Bank of America
  • E*Trade
  • Fidelity
  • HSBC
  • KeyBank
  • PayPal
  • PNC Bank
  • Robinhood
  • Santander Bank
  • SoFi Money
  • USAA
  • Venmo transfers

U.S. Bank

The following counts as a direct deposit:

  • ACH
  • Alliant
  • Ally Bank
  • Capital One 360
  • Charles Schwab
  • Chase (YMMV, mixed reports)
  • Discover
  • Fidelity
  • USAA
  • Venmo transfers

19 COMMENTS

    • That’s a great question, VO! You should always be PUSHING into the new bank accounts, not pulling. The terminology may be unfamiliar with some people so I’ll update this post shortly to explain 🙂

  1. Awesome this is extremely helpful as i was trying to figure this out and when u call customer service they always tell u its a pay check or a govt payment

    • Hi Thomas – it’s considered a “push transfer” if you log into your other bank and request a transfer to your new bank account that you signed up for. Going into another bank account to transfer money is always considered a push.

      A “pull transfer” is when you are in your new bank account and request money to be transferred into it. You’re “pulling” money away from an outside account.

      Does that help?

  2. I’m having trouble triggering the direct deposit for Chase Bank. I tried Acorn, Amazon payments and Pen Fed. I’m afraid that I’m going to lose the sign up bonus. I read the Capital One 360 didn’t work recently too.

    • Hi Catyanna,

      I don’t have data points on Acorn, but a lot of people reported PenFed working. I’ve personally used Fidelity and Santander before and they both worked.

      How long since you pushed payments to Chase? I ask because the bonus doesn’t post immediately.

  3. Confirmed as working for me:

    Capital One
    Fidelity
    TD Bank

    You may want to push the question on the specific BBVA post. Maybe someone used PayPal recently can answer.

  4. Opened a HSBC premium checking hoping to receive the $450 bonus. Found out by transfer fund from PNC checking into HSBC premium checking was a Web Transfer P2P and not consider as a Direct Deposit. Anyone out here has success using other banks transfer as a direct deposit?

    • It worked for me late last year. My data point:

      Opened account on 12/16
      Pushed 5k from PNC to HSBC Jan, Feb and March
      $750 posted

      Did you initiate the transfer from PNC and not HSBC? Which deal did you do?

      • Did a push transfer from PNC checking to HSBC premium checking, but transaction shown Web Transfer P2P. I signed up for the HSBC $450 bonus requires 3 recurring qualifying direct deposit of $5000 or more for 3 consecutive months after account opening. This HSBC premium checking has a $50 monthly fee if without $5000 direct deposit. Any idea how to waive the fee?

  5. To qualify the HSBC $450 bonus, there must be 3 recurring direct deposit for $5000 or more for 3 months after account opening.
    I did a push transfer from PNC checking into the HSBC premium checking, but HSBC shown the transfer as Web Transfer P2P. This HSBC premium checking has a $50 monthly account fee if there isn’t $5000 or more direct deposit.
    Any idea what I need to do next? Really don’t want to pay the $50 monthly fee 🙁

    • I know some banks don’t count anything with a P2P in the deposit description, but the P2P designation still works for HSBC.

      11/13/19 opened
      11/20/19 $5k push from PNC checking (virtual wallet spend account)
      12/19/19 $5k push from PNC checking (virtual wallet spend account)
      1/16/19 $5k push from PNC checking (virtual wallet spend account)
      2/7/20 $750 bonus posted

      PNC transfer coded as: DEPOSIT FROM PNCBK SV WEBXFR-P2P

    • Worked for too.

      DP:
      6/22: Account opened
      7/3: $5000.01 initiated from PNC checking
      8/7: $5001.00 initiated from PNC checking
      9/10: $5000.00 initiated from PNC checking
      10/7: $750 bonus posted

      This is what it coded as in HSBC:
      DEPOSIT FROM PNCBK CK
      WEBXFR-P2P
      SYSTEM GENERATED

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