Banks have to work hard to get new customers in the door, and many times a new checking account promotion does the trick. These types of incentives — whether they come in the form of free cash or rewards like airline miles — are welcome perks for consumers who are in the market for a new account; sometimes the promotion is good enough to even lure happy customers away from their current financial institutions.

Checking account promotions vary from bank to bank and some are better than others. GOBankingRates investigated which major U.S. banks and credit unions are currently offering checking account promotions and rounded up the 12 best.

If you're thinking of switching banks, it might be worth moving to one of these for the extra cash.

Bank of America: $200 New Checking Promo and Cash Rewards Bonus Offer

Bank of America has two ways customers can earn an extra $100 when opening a new checking account — if they do both, they could walk away with a total of $200. The offers work like this:

  • Open a qualifying new personal checking account and use the offer code BAW100N.
  • Set up and receive direct deposits totaling $2,000 every 30 days from the account opening date for 90 days.
  • For the extra $100 cash rewards bonus offer, open a BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card and spend $500 on it in the first 90 days. The new credit card can also serve as overdraft protection for your new checking account.

Offer expires Dec. 31, 2015.

Bank of America: $300 New Checking Account Bonus

Bank of America makes a second appearance on our list of best checking account promos with its $300 new checking account bonus. Here's how to qualify:

  • You must not already have a checking account with Bank of America.
  • You need to make two qualifying direct deposits of $2,000 or more each within the first 90 days of opening the account.
  • Offer is exclusive to certain Bank of America customers — ask a representative if you are eligible.

Offer expires April 10, 2015.

BankDirect: AAdvantage American Airlines Program

New and current BankDirect customers can enroll in the AAdvantage Program to earn American Airline miles. BankDirect is the first online bank to offer customers the AAdvantage program; all customers have to do is open one of the bank's mileage products, which include:

  • Mileage Checking with Interest account
  • Mileage Money Market account
  • Mileage CDs

There are other easy ways to earn even more air miles, like signing up for payroll direct deposit and online bill pay.

Offer expires: N/A

BankUnited: $120 Bonus Interest Checking Promo

Open a Bonus Interest Checking account with BankUnited and earn up to $120 in a year. With this promotion, 1 percent of ACH transfers are credited back to your account, with a maximum of $10 a month. ACH transfers can be payroll, Social Security payments, pension payments or interest transfers.

To qualify for the $120 bonus, you must meet the following requirements:

  • $1,000 minimum opening deposit
  • $5,000 minimum daily balance during each statement cycle for your Bonus Interest Checking account
  • $25,000 minimum combined daily balance in an eligible linked BankUnited consumer checking, savings or certificate of deposit account

Offer expires: N/A

BBVA Compass Bank: $150 Compass ClearChoice Checking Promo

Switch to BBVA Compass Bank and you can get up to $150 with the Compass ClearChoice Checking promo. Customers receive $10 a month for a year and an additional $30 bonus for taking the following steps:

  • Open a Compass ClearChoice Checking account.
  • Add a BBVA Compass savings or money market account within two calendar months.
  • Have one or more electronic deposits totaling $1,000 in a calendar month from an unrelated account within two calendar months of account opening.
  • Customers must meet the monthly bonus requirements by maintaining a linked savings or money market account and posting $1,000 or more in direct deposits in a calendar month to get the $10 monthly bonus.
  • Those who earn the bonus for 12 consecutive months earn an additional $30 bonus.

Offer expires April 30, 2015.

Chase Bank: $150 Checking Account Promo

New Chase checking account customers can earn $150 when they open a Chase Total Checking account. To qualify for the promotion you must:

  • Sign up here to receive the coupon code via email.
  • Print the email and take it to your local branch.
  • Open a Chase Total Checking account.
  • Set up direct deposit.

Account holders can also earn an additional $50 by opening a savings account, depositing $5,000 within 10 days and maintaining that minimum balance for 90 days.

Offer expires April 15, 2015.

Discover Bank: $50 Cashback Checking

Not only does Discover Bank pay its customers for using its Cashback Checking accounts (10 cents cash back for each debit, check or online bill pay purchase, up to 100 a month), the bank is also currently offering a $50 bonus on new accounts. You can open a Cashback Checking account online in five to 10 minutes and start earning money back on your normal account transactions right away.

Offer expires March 31, 2015.

Langley Federal Credit Union: $50 Langley Smart Checking Account Promo

One of GOBankingRates' top-rated military banks and credit unions for 2015 also currently has one of the best checking promotions: Members who open a Langley Smart Checking account receive a $50 bonus.

Here's how to take advantage of Langley Federal Credit Union's promo:

  • Open a Smart Checking account.
  • Sign up for direct deposit.
  • You must mention the promotion to receive the $50 bonus — it is not automatic.

Offer expires June 30, 2015.

Nationwide Bank: $200 E-Checking Bonus

Customers who open a new E-Checking account with Nationwide Bank are eligible to receive a hefty $200 promotional bonus. Here's how to qualify for the promotion:

  • Open an E-Checking account with a minimum $50 balance.
  • Use the offer code 03110473.
  • Set up an automatic monthly direct deposit of at least $200 into your E-Checking account.
  • The $200 minimum direct deposit must hit your account within 90 days of opening it.
  • Direct deposits must be ACH credits from an employer or outside agency.
  • The account must remain open for at least 90 days.
  • The $200 bonus is deposited within two weeks following the 90 day minimum requirement.

Offer expires June 30, 2015.

PNC Bank: $300 Virtual Wallet Promo

PNC Bank is offering a promotion for new customers to earn up to $300 when they open a PNC Virtual Wallet. You can open the account online or bring a coupon to your local branch to take advantage of this offer. The $300 promo is for customers who:

  • Have not closed an account in the last 90 days or received a promotional premium in the last 12 months.
  • Open a new Virtual Wallet with Performance Select.
  • Establish a qualifying direct deposit to their new account of at least $5,000.
  • Make at least one payment with PNC online bill pay within 60 days of opening the account.
  • Keep the account open for at least 90 days.

If you are unable to meet these requirements, you might still qualify for smaller bonus offers of $75 with a Virtual Wallet checking account or a $200 bonus for Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend. Visit PNC.com for full details.

Offer expires March 31, 2015.

Santander Bank: $240 extra20 Promo

Santander Bank will pay customers $20 a month if they meet certain criteria, which can add up to $240 a year. There is no cap on how long you can collect this bonus and the money goes directly into your extra20 savings account. You can collect this bonus by taking the following four steps:

  • Open an extra20 checking and extra20 savings account.
  • Make a minimum opening deposit of $25 into checking and $10 into savings.
  • Earn $10 for a direct deposit of $1,500 or more within the service fee period.
  • Earn $10 for paying two bills with bill pay within the service fee period.

Offer lasts until the product is no longer offered.

SunTrust Bank: $200 Everyday Checking Promo

New SunTrust Bank clients can earn a $100 or $200 bonus when they open an Everyday Checking account. Here are the details:

  • You must be a new customer.
  • You need to use the promo code WINTER15 to get the $200 bonus.
  • You must make a direct deposit. A deposit of $1,000 will qualify you for a $100 bonus, while a deposit of $2,000 or more is required to get the full $200 bonus.
  • You must make one online or mobile bill payment of $50 or more to qualify for the $100 bonus, or make two such transactions to qualify for the $200 bonus.
  • The direct deposit and bill payment must be made within 60 days of the account opening.

Offer expires when the discount code is no longer valid.

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