The 15 Best Brokerage Account Promotions and Bonuses for 2021

Are you looking to open a new brokerage account to manage your portfolio of investments but aren’t sure which one?

Many online investment platforms compete for business by offering new account promotions based on the assets you can transfer to their platform. While promotions shouldn’t be the only consideration, these promotion/bonus amounts are too hard to look past.

There are a range of bonuses listed below, whether you have an established portfolio and looking to transfer stocks, or starting new.

Continue reading to review the best brokerage account promotions for new accounts.

Bank of America $100 New Checking Account Bonus

Bank of America will give you a $100 cash bonus if you open a new account by June 30th, 2021 and receive at least 2 qualifying direct deposits of $250 or more within the first 90 days. The monthly fee is easy to get waived.

This is a limited time offer!

Learn more about this offer

Our Top Picks:

BrokerWhy We Like Them
Webull

[Best for Free Stock]
Webull is our Editor’s Pick as the best brokerage promotion because the promotion is so simple –
open an account and deposit $100. You get 2 free stocks worth up to $1,600.
It’s just like Robinhood, but you can always do both offers!

Get free stock from Webull
Ally Invest

[Highest Cash Bonus]
Ally Invest has the highest cash bonus if you transfer your assets to their brokerage.
As long as you transfer more than $10,000 in assets, you get free cash.
They also offer free trades so it’s a winner all around.

Get a cash bonus from Ally Invest
Table of Contents
  1. Webull – 2 free stocks worth up to $1,600
  2. Robinhood – free share of stock
  3. Ally Invest – up to $3,500
  4. E*TRADE – Up to $2,500
  5. NVSTR – free stock valued between $9 and $1,000
  6. Tastyworks
  7. SoFi Invest – $50
  8. Betterment
  9. Popular Bank
  10. Citi Personal Wealth Management
  11. Merrill Edge – up to $600
  12. Charles Schwab – up to $500
  13. Fidelity Spire – $100 Promotion
  14. TradeStation – $100 [expired]
  15. Frequently Asked Questions

Webull – 2 free stocks worth up to $1,600

Webull is a free trading app from Webull Financial. They are a brokerage based out of New York City and regulated by FINRA, you can look them up on BrokerCheck. We have a full review of Webull and their offer here.

For new signups, open and fund an account with $100 and they will give you 2 free stocks worth up to $1,600. They have no fees and no account minimums so it’s truly free stock. We consider them one of the best Robinhood alternatives.

Get your free stock from Webull

Robinhood – free share of stock

Robinhood is a no-commission fee brokerage (Robinhood is completely safe) that will give you a free share of stock when you open an account. There are no other requirements of the offer, you just need to open an account. no deposit, no transfer, no nothing.

You can read more about the free share of stock promotion here.

Get a free share of stock

Here is also how Robinhood compares to Webull.

Ally Invest – up to $3,500

Ally Invest Logo

Ally Invest is the online brokerage account I use because they offer free trades (U.S. stock, ETFs, and options) with no minimums and monthly balance requirements. I have an Ally Bank account so managing it all with one login is convenient too. I wish I would’ve taken advantage of their new account bonuses for transfers because it’s one of the most generous, here is the schedule based on how much you deposit within 60 days of account opening:

Here is the Ally Invest bonus structure:

Deposit or Transfer
Amount
Your Bonus
$10,000 – $24,999$100
$25,000 – $99,999$250
$100,000 – $249,999$300
$250,000 – $499,999$600
$500,000 – $999,999$1,200
$1,000,000 – $1,999,999$2,000
$2,000,000 or more$3,000

They will also credit transfer fees if you move your account from another brokerage – up to $150 ACAT fee reimbursement.

(here is our full review of Ally Invest)

Learn more about Ally Invest

E*TRADE – Up to $2,500

E*TRADE logo

When I think of new account promotions, I think of E*TRADE. For years, they had an offer where you could get up to $3,000 (if you had over a million dollars in assets to transfer!) and 60 days of free trades if you open a non-retirement brokerage account.

With the recent rush of brokerages offering free trades, the promotion is now just cash.

You can find the full details here but this is the offer:

  • Deposit $5,000 – $9,999, get $50 cash
  • Deposit $10,000 – $19,999, get $100 cash
  • Deposit $20,000 – $24,999, get $150 cash
  • Deposit $25,000 – $99,999, get $200 cash
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999, get $300 cash
  • Deposit $250,000 – $499,999, get $600 cash
  • Deposit $500,000 – $999,999, get $1,200 cash
  • Deposit $1,000,000 or more, get $2,500 cash

Learn more about E*Trade

NVSTR – free stock valued between $9 and $1,000

NVSTR Logo

NVSTR has a referral program where you can get up to $1,000 (but at least $10) when you sign up. The referring customer gets $10 to $1,000 too – and it’s a limited time offer. If you’ve never heard of them before, our NVSTR review can get you up to speed.

The only requirement is that you make one trade within a year and you can keep the bonus. There are no other requirements for the new account bonus.

There is also a deposit bonus. For a limited time, after you open your account, you can get a bonus based on what you deposit. You need to maintain this amount for one year to keep the deposit bonus.
Deposit Bonus

See the offer at NVSTR

Tastyworks

Tastyworks will give you 100 shares of a “highly liquid stock” when you open and fund a new cash or margin account with $2,000. The shares will be selected at random from a list of eleven stocks priced between $1 and $6, so you can get anywhere from $100 to $600 in this promotion with a stated average bonus of $200 – $220. There is a 70% chance of getting a stock priced under $2 and a 30% chance of getting a stock priced over $2.

You must keep the initial value of the stock, less any loss in value, in the account for a minimum of three months.

The referral/promotion code for this offer is “STOCK_AWARD_20” and you must put it in the Referral Code Field when applying.

Learn more about Tastyworks
(Offer expires 6/30/2021)

SoFi Invest – $50

SoFi Invest is the brokerage arm of SoFi, the student loan refinancing company. They’ve recently branched out into other areas, including SoFi Money (banking), and they are now offering a $50 bonus if you sign up and deposit at least $25.

With SoFi Invest, you can manage your portfolio (Active Investing) or go with a roboadvisor approach (Auto Investing). With Active Investing, you can invest in stocks, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs without paying a trading commission.

For a limited time, get $50 in stock from SoFi Invest if you sign up with a referral link and deposit at least $1,000. There’s no trading requirement.

Betterment

Betterment is one of the largest and most respected robo-advisors, you can see our review of Betterment for a closer look at their service.

For new accounts, they will waive the management fee of 0.25% depending on how much you transfer:

  • Deposit $15,000 – $99,999, get 1 month managed free
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999, get 6 months managed free
  • Deposit $250,000+, get 12 months managed free

Learn more about Betterment

Residents of New York, Florida, and New Jersey can take advantage of broker promotion by Popular Bank. Popular Bank will give you up to $1,000 if you open a new brokerage account (in branch) and deposit funds of at least $50,000. The bonus is based on this schedule:

  • Get $200 bonus when you deposit $50,000 in qualifying assets
  • Get $600 bonus when you deposit $200,000 in qualifying assets
  • Get $1,000 bonus when you deposit $500,000 in qualifying assets

Then maintain that balance for at least 90 days and you will get the bonus. If you have a Popular Bank deposit account, you’ll get the bonus deposited into your account. If you don’t, you will receive a check. This applies for brokerage accounts, mutual fund brokerage accounts, IRAs and SMAs.

Learn more about this promotion

(No expiration shown)

Citi Personal Wealth Management

Citi Personal Wealth Management has a juicy bonus offer when you transfer New-to-Citibank funds within 2 months of opening an account. You also will need to enroll in e-delivery of statements and then keep those funds in the account through the end of the next month (or three months after the month of account enrollment). Bonus will be credited three months after you meet the maintenance requirement.

Here’s the Citi bonus transfer schedule:

  • Fund with $50,000 – $199,999 – $500
  • Fund with $200,000 – $499,999 – $1,000
  • Fund with $500,000 – $999,999 – $1,500
  • Fund with $1,000,000 – $1,999,999 – $2,500
  • Fund with $2,000,000 or more – $3,500

See the offer at Citi
(Offer expires 6/30/21)

Merrill Edge – up to $600

Merrill Edge, a Bank of America Company, will give you up to $1,000 if you open a new Merrill Edge account using the offer code 600ME. You just need to transfer your funds within 45 days, maintain that balance for 90 days, and you will get the cash bonus in 2 weeks. This bonus applies to individual Merrill Edge IRAs or Cash Management Accounts, which is what they call their taxable brokerage accounts.

Here’s the Merrill Edge bonus transfer schedule:

  • Fund with $20,000 – $49,999: $100
  • Fund with $50,000 – $99,999: $150
  • Fund with $100,000 – $199,999: $250
  • Fund with $200,000+ $600

See the offer at Merrill Edge

If you are a Preferred Reward client, you may get up to $900 with this alternative offer.

Charles Schwab – up to $500

Charles Schwab Logo

Charles Schwab will give Stock Plan Services clients a bonus of up to $500 when you open a new account and transfer in new funds with 45 days. If you are not a Stock Plan Service, they won’t give you this promotion (they will even let you apply and enter in a promotion code, but they won’t give you the bonus).

Here’s Charles Schwab’s bonus transfer schedule:

  • Fund with $10,000 – $24,999: $100
  • Fund with $25,000 – $45,999: $200
  • Fund with $50,000 – $99,999: $300
  • Fund with $100,000+ $500

Update: I have received reports from readers that you don’t get cash but instead get “trade credits” which can be used to pay the commission for trades. If you are considering this offer, call to confirm the details.

See the offer at Charles Schwab

Fidelity Spire – $100 Promotion

fidelity logo

Fidelity has an offer where you open an account and link a goal in the Fidelity Spire app to get $100 cash. Just open a qualified account, set up a monthly deposit of $25 or more and keep it for 6 months, and you’ll get $100 towards that goal.

Here are other Fidelity promotions you might want to check out.

You can learn more here.

(Offer expires 4/08/2021)

TradeStation – $100 [expired]

TradeStation has a “Cash Madness” promotion where you can get $100 when you open and fund a TradeStation Securities account with $500 or more. All you have to do is open a new TradeStation Securities account using the offer code ZINGAFOG, deposit at least $500 within thirty days of opening your account, and then maintain the balance for one month after the funding date.

The promotion expired on July 1st, 2020. We will update this section when a new promotion arrives. 

Learn more on the promotion page

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about bonuses and the brokerage transfer process.

How do brokerage transfers work?

Almost every brokerage firm supports ACATS, which stands for Automated Customer Account Transfer Service, which lets you transfer your assets “in-kind.” This means that your holdings are transferred without you having to sell them (and create a taxable event). If you have big unrealized gains in a stock, the shares just get moved over without you having to sell them and you keep the same cost basis.

You may run into hiccups if some items can’t be transferred. One common example is Vanguard Admiral shares of their mutual funds. Some brokerages will take them, others won’t. In these cases, you may have to transfer them to another asset type (like the ETF version), which will accept them.

ACATS does take a week or two to complete the transfer.

Is it worth it to switch brokerages?

I don’t think it’s worth switching from broker to broker, grabbing up the bonuses, but the process isn’t difficult.

If you’re looking to make a move anyway, getting paid a little for the effort is better than not being paid.

Some brokers may charge you to leave, which is something you’d be paying anyway, so hopping around may reduce your returns from the bonus perspective.

How are the brokerage bonuses taxed?

If you are creating new taxable brokerage accounts, the bonuses will be reported as income and you will have to claim them on your taxes as income.

If you are creating retirement accounts, like an IRA, the bonuses are going into those accounts so you won’t owe taxes on them immediately. For traditional IRAs, you’ll just be taxed when you start taking distributions. Roth IRAs will never be taxed. For each account, review the terms and conditions to see how the brokerage is treating it and you’ll know for certain.

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Jim Wang

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Robert says

    Call me stupid, but I can’t figure out how to send a referral request to you at this address: moc.skcahtellaw@edartiremadtj+mij. Can you please translate for me? My email program rejects this address.

    • Jim Wang says

      It’s my email reversed but it’s supposed to flip it visually on the screen using CSS – it’s just my name (Jim) at wallethacks dot com.

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