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Southern Banks Boost Checking Bonuses

Pen on a checkIt’s the battle between South and South. Two big banks from Georgia and Alabama are devoting more cash to pursuing new customers.

In recent weeks, both SunTrust and Regions Financial have boosted the bonuses they’re offering if you open a new checking account.

SunTrust, the nation’s 17th-largest bank, is offering a $100 or $200 bonus, up from a previous maximum of $125.

To qualify, customers must go online and open an Everyday Checking account using the promo code FALL14CHECKING.

You’ll get $100 if you receive a direct deposit of at least $1,000 and make one online bill payment of $50 or more within 60 days of opening your account. The direct deposit must be of your paycheck, pension check, Social Security check or regular monthly income.

If you receive a direct deposit of at least $2,000 and make at least two online bill payments of $50 or more within those 60 days, you’ll get a $200 bonus.

After you receive you direct deposit and use the online bill payment, you’ll receive your bonus within eight weeks.

The Everyday Checking account has a $7 monthly maintenance fee. But you can have it waived if you receive a direct deposit of $100 or more a month.

The Atlanta-based bank has more than 1,500 branches, primarily in the Southeast. But anyone who doesn’t already have a SunTrust checking account can take advantage of the bonus, regardless of where they live.

Regions Financial is offering new checking customers a $165 bonus if they open a LifeGreen Checking account using the promo code 165.

Then you’ll need to receive at least $500 in direct deposits of a government or payroll check within 60 days of opening your account. You’ll also need to make 10 debit card purchases during that time. If you do those things, $165 will be credited to your account within 120 days.

It takes a minimum deposit of $50 to open a LifeGreen Checking account. You’ll earn a paltry 0.01% APY on your account.

The Birmingham, Alabama-based bank will charge an $8 monthly service fee if you receive your account statements online and $10 if you receive paper statements. But the fees are waived if you receive a direct deposit of at least $500 from one payroll or government check, or a total of $1,000 in direct deposits per month, or if you maintain an average monthly balance of $1,500 in your account.

Regions’ offer is available in the 16 Southern and Midwestern states where it has 1,700 branches.

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