Best IRA Rollover Promotions: See 5 Brokers That Pay You to Rollover Your IRA

If you’ve been looking to roll over your 401(k) into a Rollover IRA, it’s one of the best times to take advantage of stock brokerage promotions.

Stockbrokers offer promotions that can get into the thousands of dollars because they know you can bring thousands of dollars to your new account. They are always looking for new deposits, just like banks, and they’ll pay you because they know moving an IRA is a lot of work. Once you move it to a new brokerage account, chances are you’ll stick with that account for a while.

Best of all, for you, it’s free money that has no immediate tax consequences because a Rollover IRA is a tax-deferred investment vehicle. Everyone wins!

These offers are always changing so if you see one you like, you want to take advantage of it immediately. We will try to keep them as up to date as possible.

We’ll tell you the best IRA rollover promotions you can get right now, including what to watch out for:

Need help rolling over your 401(k) into an IRA?

Keeping your old 401(k) with a former employer is usually not a great idea but if you don’t want to move it yourself, you can work with a company like Capitalize to do it for you. They will help you find the best IRA for your needs and move it over – for free.

Table of Contents
  1. Firstrade – up to $200
  2. Charles Schwab – up to $500
  3. Merrill Edge – up to $600 [EXPIRED]
  4. What to Watch For

Firstrade – up to $200

Firstrade used to have a generous offer for both rollover IRAs and new accounts. I will keep this expired offer listed here just in case it comes back (and as a reference). To get it, just open an account, deposit at least $5,000 and you’ll get a cash bonus.

Here is the Firstrade bonus structure:

  • Deposit $5,000 – $9,999, get $25 cash
  • Deposit $10,000 – $24,999, get $50 cash
  • Deposit $25,000 – $49,999, get $100 cash
  • Deposit $50,000 – $99,999, get $200 cash
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999, get $300 cash
  • Deposit $250,000+, get $600 cash

Firstrade also offers free trades as well as ACAT fee reimbursement of up to $200 when you switch. The ACAT refund is the only active offer for Firstrade right now.

Learn more about Firstrade

Charles Schwab – up to $500

Charles Schwab Logo

Charles Schwab has a refer a friend program where you can get a bonus for transferring assets as long as an existing client refers you. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with an account so I can’t set this up for you.

Here is the Charles Schwab bonus structure:

  • Deposit $1,000 – $24,999, get $100 cash
  • Deposit $25,000 – $49,999, get $200 cash
  • Deposit $50,000 – $99,999, get $300 cash
  • Deposit $100,000+, get $500 cash

The person making the referral doesn’t get anything, unfortunately. The link below will tell you more about the program but you will still need to find someone to refer you.

Learn more about the Charles Schwab offer

Merrill Edge – up to $600 [EXPIRED]

Merrill Edge, a Bank of America company, has a juicy offer of up to $600 if you open a new Merrill Edge Self-Directed brokerage account. Don’t let the title fool you, a Merrill Edge IRA and a Merrill Edge Cash Management Account qualify. In the IRA category, this includes Rollover, Traditional, Roth, and owner-only SEP-IRA accounts too.

Here is the Merrill Edge bonus structure:

  • Deposit $20,000 – $49,999, get $100 cash
  • Deposit $50,000 – $99,999, get $150 cash
  • Deposit $100,000 – $199,999, get $250 cash
  • Deposit $200,000+, get $600 cash

Merrill Edge offers free trades but there is no ACAT fee reimbursement.

Learn more about Merrill Edge

What to Watch For

Most brokerages are the same. They have comparable technology, market research, similar apps, and trade execution speeds – none of those are a differentiator. What you want is a well-designed interface so you can easily do what you need to without having to navigate a mess of menus. With it being a Rollover IRA, even the tax reporting isn’t a big deal because taxes on capital gains are deferred.

So what is there to watch out for?

Fees. Does the brokerage has a minimum balance requirement and does it charge a maintenance fee? Most will not require a minimum or require an annual fee but some still do, so keep an eye out for it. 

Normally, when you transfer assets from one brokerage to another – there is a fee. With a full transfer of assets, the fee is known as an ACAT transfer. ACAT is the system that is used to transfer the assets and the fee can be quite steep. Some brokers will reimburse that fee when you transfer in money while others won’t. This can cut into your bonus payout.

You can avoid this by liquidating your assets, transferring cash, and repurchasing them. Since it’s an IRA, this wouldn’t trigger a taxable event but you are no longer investing the money during the transfer period. Being out of the market, especially in periods of extreme volatility, can be risky.

This is less of a concern with a rollover because in most cases, you will liquidate your positions, get a check or wire transfer, and deposit that into the new Rollover IRA. You have 60 days to deposit that check into your rollover IRA too but this is often not a concern if you stay on top of it. Two months is a long time.

Finally, the bonus is not considered your contributions when you receive it. When you fulfill the bonus obligations, the account will earn the bonus cash as “dividends or interest” and there are no tax consequences. It’s as if one of your holdings paid you dividends or interest.

If you keep all these in mind, you can take advantage of a Rollover IRA bonus and earn extra cash to your IRA.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four 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 farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. Gerry Deniega says

    Merrill Edge promo “Deposit $200,000+, get $900 cash”: I just called Merrill Edge and I was told that this promo expired July 15, 2020.

    • Jim Wang says

      Hi Gerry – they changed the offer to lower the amount that is offered as a bonus. The highest bonus amount is now $600.

  2. Sean E says

    Wouldn’t you pay taxes on your current investment account payout, if you choose to transfer to the Ally invest account?

    • Jim Wang says

      Not if you do an ACAT (Automated Customer Account Transfer) because it transfers your assets, rather than selling them and transferring cash.

      • vinh pham says

        Just checking to make sure.
        I was about to roll over my old company 401k balance to a new TDA IRA .
        I currently don’t have any TDA account.

        Deposit $250,000 – $499,999, get $600 cash
        so if i do it, I won’t get this $600 cash ?
        i wonder why ?

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