The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

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lemonPepper
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by lemonPepper » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:06 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:The Merrill Edge $1000 deal is back on, but for a very limited time. If you've been thinking of taking advantage, now's the time.

It looks like the offer has been extended or renewed through the end of the year.

https://www.merrilledge.com/offers/1000offer

Earl


I tried to open an account @ 100k tier. they declined my account request as I don't have a US Permanent resident card. I'm on H1B visa and file taxes are resident alien.

Looks like my next best bet is fidelity

student
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by student » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:00 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:Most custodians allow accounts to stay open with a nominal amount of money, $5 or so. Scottrade required a fairly high amount, like $2500 or so, essentially forcing a total transfer.


I am not sure that Scottrade enforces this. My account has been under $2500 for a long time. I even called and asked them about it. I was told that $2500 is not required to keep the account, it is only required when opening an account.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:58 pm

student wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:Most custodians allow accounts to stay open with a nominal amount of money, $5 or so. Scottrade required a fairly high amount, like $2500 or so, essentially forcing a total transfer.


I am not sure that Scottrade enforces this. My account has been under $2500 for a long time. I even called and asked them about it. I was told that $2500 is not required to keep the account, it is only required when opening an account.

I did a transfer out of Scottrade that was held up do to not allowing less than $2500. If you withdrew cash, or had holdings that dropped below that value, the rules might be different.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by student » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:30 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
student wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:Most custodians allow accounts to stay open with a nominal amount of money, $5 or so. Scottrade required a fairly high amount, like $2500 or so, essentially forcing a total transfer.


I am not sure that Scottrade enforces this. My account has been under $2500 for a long time. I even called and asked them about it. I was told that $2500 is not required to keep the account, it is only required when opening an account.

I did a transfer out of Scottrade that was held up do to not allowing less than $2500. If you withdrew cash, or had holdings that dropped below that value, the rules might be different.

Yes. I only withdrew cash. I did not transfer out.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:26 pm

student wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:I did a transfer out of Scottrade that was held up do to not allowing less than $2500. If you withdrew cash, or had holdings that dropped below that value, the rules might be different.

Yes. I only withdrew cash. I did not transfer out.

Useful data point.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by whodidntante » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:11 pm

I have transfer related humor.

My Fidelity account was recently flush, but has been ravaged by ACATS and bonus seeking behavior. I placed enough trades in 2016 to get "active trader" status. I have a cash management account that I use mainly when I travel, due to unlimited ATM fee rebates. I deposited a check for $2,500 into it, and it was rejected for a reason I didn't understand. So I called and I'm immediately connected to one of the fancy active trader account managers.

Me: I have a question about my cash management account.
Him: Let me pull that up. The one with 2 cents in it?
Me: I just wanted to give my two cents.
Him: ...
Me: So, I deposited a check...

I thought it was funny.

MisterBill
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by MisterBill » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:59 am

I'm in the process of transferring an account from Capital One to Merrill Edge for the $1000 bonus, which requires me to get to $200k in 45 days. What will happen if don't hit the required balance by day 45 because the firm I'm transferring from is taking their time sending it?

I submitted the transfer to Merrill on 12/13, but I had to fax over some of the paperwork because it turned out I could not upload the form at a different time than I uploaded the statement, so that added a couple of days to the process.

Anyway, Capital One got the the request on 12/19 (sent on paper via overnight delivery I'm told, they apparently don't do ACATS). They sent email to say that they had it, but then sat on it for a week before sending me a message on 12/27 saying there was a delay because I had dividend reinvestment turned on. I turned it off and called them to restart the process and I was told that it wasn't really on hold. Then a week later (1/3) I got a message saying they needed to verify the account number at ME because it wasn't clear, so I called and took care of that. Finally on 1/4 I got an email saying that the transfer was approved and would be processed in 15-30 days. As of today, the shares are still in the Capital One account. They did take the $75 transfer fee already and sold my partial shares (they will settle on Monday). Bonus is I now have to deal with a 1099-B from them on next year's taxes.

What will happen if they take the full 30 days from the 1/4 date and I don't hit the required balance at Merrill by day 45? Will they give me the credit anyway, given that they know when the transfer was submitted and how much was coming over? It's bad enough that Capital One's incompetence/slowness is costing me a month's delay in becoming eligible for the Platinum Honors level of Preferred Rewards. It had to be in the account by today for it to count for January and I was expecting there not to be an issue before Cap One took 2+ weeks to start the transfer.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:01 am

MisterBill wrote:IWhat will happen if they take the full 30 days from the 1/4 date and I don't hit the required balance at Merrill by day 45?


At the amount you're transferring in that should provide you a dedicated account rep, get in touch with him/her as there is some wiggle room. Know that doesn't guarantee anything. I also experienced some delays getting money over but I managed to beat the 45 day deadline by a day or two, however, my rep kept saying he could possibly get an extension if it became necessary.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by MisterBill » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:42 am

jayhawk wrote:
MisterBill wrote:IWhat will happen if they take the full 30 days from the 1/4 date and I don't hit the required balance at Merrill by day 45?


At the amount you're transferring in that should provide you a dedicated account rep, get in touch with him/her as there is some wiggle room. Know that doesn't guarantee anything. I also experienced some delays getting money over but I managed to beat the 45 day deadline by a day or two, however, my rep kept saying he could possibly get an extension if it became necessary.

I don't have a dedicated person (maybe after the transfer arrives), but I have the name/number/email of the guy who helped me when I had to fax the paperwork over, maybe I'll send him an email just to be safe. I had created another thread here asking how long the transfer would take when I first submitted it (when I wanted it to hit by early January, before they sat on it for 2 weeks) and someone said it took 5 days once they received the message so maybe it won't be as bad as I fear. I'm debating also moving one stock from Fidelity since I think I'll be a little under because the cash is allegedly only being sent after 30 days, although I could also just move some more cash in and buy index ETFs (and cash will be much faster).

Good to hear that you were told there is some wiggle room.

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Merrill Edge new funds requirement

Post by MisterBill » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:02 am

So, my shares and cash were removed from my Capital One account this morning. Hopefully they will show up in the Merrill Edge account within a couple of days. So my 45 day concern should be resolved.

One more question. I have moved some cash in by depositing into my Bank of America checking account and then transferring it over to my Merrill Edge account, since I was unable to use mobile deposit in the ME app until the account had been open for 30 days and was going to be short of the $200k without it (and attempting to link my non-BofA checking account failed due to supposed different registrations, so I had to fax over paperwork to add it). I just noticed that the fine print regarding the required funding says "with funds originating from outside Merrill Lynch and Bank of America". Will the money I deposited into my BofA checking account (from another bank) and then transferred over count towards the $200k (as I had intended) or is it excluded since it came into ME from BofA? I could transfer a couple of stocks over from Fidelity to get over $200k if necessary or transfer more cash once I get the non-BofA account linked.

jayhawkerbeef
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:14 am

Yes, correct. Any money to meet the necessary limit MUST come from outside ME or BOA. Doubt there is much "wiggle" room with that since it's explicitly mentioned in their disclaimer.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by MisterBill » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:56 pm

jayhawk wrote:Yes, correct. Any money to meet the necessary limit MUST come from outside ME or BOA. Doubt there is much "wiggle" room with that since it's explicitly mentioned in their disclaimer.

I spoke to the rep and he said that once my Capital One transfer hits (he said they will have it tomorrow), he can check the status and see where I am in terms of getting to 200k. If I was within a few thousand he could call his back office and get them to approve it since they could see that I had deposited the funds into BofA.

To be safe, I just submitted an online request to transfer a couple of stocks I have at Fidelity to ME (not the full account). I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to do so entirely online -- no signed paperwork or uploading a statement like I had to do with Capital One.

He said the form I sent over to add my other checking account to ME so I can transfer funds that way could take a couple of weeks to process. But as I said, I'll have access to ME mobile deposit at the end of the week, so I can just deposit another check. I have too much in cash at the moment anyway.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by sco » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:06 pm

Is there any place giving bonuses in the 10k-20k account range (Roths)... I see Schwab gives $100 in it looks like 90 days, which isn't bad. Do we know if they accept Admiral Shares or do I have to switch to VTI?

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:09 am

Lower range ones that I have in my notes:

Etrade: $200 for 25K
TD Ameritrade: $100 for 25K
Scottrade: $100 for 25K
Capital One: $50 for 5K, $100 for 15K
Motif: $150 for 5K (IRA only)

Any of these might be out of date and should be checked.

Where did you see the Schwab one? The only one I have is for 100k. I'm not really up on Admiral shares. I switched to ETFs long ago.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by integritetus » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:29 am

Here is a link for the current Schwab promotion.

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/ ... award.html

Took advantage of it in November. 43 calendar days after the shares appeared in my Schwab account, the bonus was deposited.

Had the decision whether to transfer to Schwab appreciated shares of VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Admiral) or VTI (the ETF class of the same) in a taxable account. At the time I believe Schwab told me they would receive and hold VTSAX and reinvest dividends, but I couldn't otherwise add to the position. Their mutual fund tool says purchases of VTSAX are available to institutional investors only. I transferred shares of VTI.

Out of curiosity (and to confirm my recollection before I posted this reply to sco's and Earl Lemongrab's questions) I just called Schwab and asked about being able to purchase new shares of VTSAX. Surprisingly, and after mentioning that their mutual fund tool said availability was limited to institutional investors only, I was told I could purchase new shares of VTSAX. This contradicts their mutual fund tool, so not sure what to think. I wouldn't want to count on it without further confirmation, but it would be interesting if true. Wouldn't have changed my decision to use VTI at Schwab since the $76 per buy transaction for VTSAX is not interesting (VTSAX not being a Schwab no-transaction-fee fund, I believe the fee to trade would be $76/buy and $0/sell).

A second surprise from the phone call is that they offered me a second transfer bonus. I was told that they "recycle" (the customer service rep's language) the bonuses every 90 days, implying that they would offer a new bonus for additional money every 90 days. When I said that I had taken advantage of the offer within the last 90 days, the representative said they would make an exception for more business.

I also recall that when I took advantage of the transfer offer in November, the Schwab representative said that they had flexibility to match larger bonus offers that competitors were offering if asked.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by sco » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:20 am

Thanks, I may give Schwab a shot then. Perhaps they will match the $150 Motif bonus, will report back. They are Roth IRA's, so no concern about buying new anything until 2018.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:26 am

I will file that Schwab offer away. Thanks.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by MisterBill » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:17 pm

I don't see it mentioned here, but when taking advantage of these bonuses, it's also worth asking if the new firm will refund any fees charged by your previous brokerage house when transferring your assets. From experience, I know that Fidelity and Merrill Edge will do it.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:38 pm

MisterBill wrote:I don't see it mentioned here, but when taking advantage of these bonuses, it's also worth asking if the new firm will refund any fees charged by your previous brokerage house when transferring your assets. From experience, I know that Fidelity and Merrill Edge will do it.

It was mentioned in the start of the thread, but worth reiterating as it grows in length. Definitely something to check.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by MisterBill » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:56 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:It was mentioned in the start of the thread, but worth reiterating as it grows in length. Definitely something to check.

Thanks. I searched for "rebate" or "refund" and did not find it in the thread. Should have actually read the first post. But as you said, worth reiterating since I think many people don't think to ask.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by triceratop » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:06 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:I will file that Schwab offer away. Thanks.


Note also it's always worth mentioning to the Schwab rep that you can get free trades at ME; they've been happy to offer free trades (100/yr I believe, so not quite a full match) when I brought that up.

That Schwab offer looks great; I hope they're offering it this summer when I can transfer from ME.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:07 pm

whodidntante wrote:I have transfer related humor.

My Fidelity account was recently flush, but has been ravaged by ACATS and bonus seeking behavior. I placed enough trades in 2016 to get "active trader" status. I have a cash management account that I use mainly when I travel, due to unlimited ATM fee rebates. I deposited a check for $2,500 into it, and it was rejected for a reason I didn't understand. So I called and I'm immediately connected to one of the fancy active trader account managers.

Me: I have a question about my cash management account.
Him: Let me pull that up. The one with 2 cents in it?
Me: I just wanted to give my two cents.
Him: ...
Me: So, I deposited a check...

I thought it was funny.

That's a good one.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:33 pm

Penalties?
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:50 pm

Sandtrap wrote:Has anyone here experienced a "penalty" for taking funds out before the 9mos or 1 year, etc, requirement?

I always follow the terms of the offer. That's the cleanest and safest way.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by JT Marlin » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:03 pm

whodidntante wrote:For whatever it's worth (maybe nothing) I asked again and TDA dug in on their previous response.

I asked:

Code: Select all

I expected bonus retention would be based on net deposits (deposits - withdrawals) and that those must remain above 100k to keep the bonus.  However, what you've written below indicates that market fluctuation is a factor.  Can you confirm that point for me please?  For example, assume my investments appreciate to 130k.  Could I withdraw 30k in that example while retaining my bonus?  


And got this reply:

Code: Select all

Yes, you are correct, if your account appreciates, you are welcome to withdraw any amount above the initial qualifying deposit, in this case $100,000.00, during the first year and you would still retain the cash award.  And on the other end, if your account value were to drop below the initial qualifying deposit, again in this case $100,000.00, due to market fluctuations, you would still retain the cash award, so the market moving against you wouldn't affect your award, only withdrawals.


Hmmm I was curious about this issue myself so I asked them the exact same question through the Message Center and got a completely different answer... :confused

Background: I signed up three months ago using the '$250,000 deposit for $1,000 bonus' and deposited a total of $260,000. The account value now currently stands at $283,000. I was wondering if I could only withdraw $10,000 (260k-250k) or If I could withdraw $33,000 (283k-250k)

Here was their response:
You can withdraw $10,000.00 of the $260,000.00 deposit you made to get the $1000.00 cash bonus since that bonus was based on a qualifying deposit of $250,000.00 and this will not make you lose any of this bonus.

You are just required to keep the qualifying amount in the account that the bonus was paid on in the account for 12 months.

This solely based on the qualifying deposit you made to get this cash bonus and not on the current market value of your account.

I hope this information has been helpful in explaining this and answering your questions, and if you do have any others, please let me know.


It seems very strange that they would have two different policies for different customers. Should I pursue this further? Seems like it would be a futile effort though...

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:06 pm

^^^I bet the 2nd response is the right one. Reps can make mistakes.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:28 pm

I have sometimes found different "incentives" from different brokerages depending on whom I'm able to ask and what amount :moneybag that I intent on transferring. Perhaps it might be a good rule to ask for all that one can get regardless or on top of what is advertised.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by whodidntante » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:31 pm

*3!4!/5! wrote:^^^I bet the 2nd response is the right one. Reps can make mistakes.


It's like asking the IRS for tax advice. Sure, you can take their advice. But the nice person on the phone isn't the one who decides.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by stlutz » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:37 pm

Has anybody tried to "double-up" on different bonuses from Fidelity?

For most of their bonuses they have a rule that you can only do it once every 12 months. Does that mean for that particular bonus only or for all of them? For example, could one could transfer $50K and get 300 free trades (with 2 years to use them) and transfer another $50K and get $200 cash, both within a month of each other?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by tj » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:20 pm

Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:46 pm

tj wrote:Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?
Good question. I'd like datapoints on this too.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:38 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:
tj wrote:Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?
Good question. I'd like datapoints on this too.

Does it matter?
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:46 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
tj wrote:Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?
Good question. I'd like datapoints on this too.

Does it matter?

Yes, it can potentially increase taxes by more than $6,000 by having an extra $1 on 1099INT rather than 1099MISC.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by tj » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:58 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
tj wrote:Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?
Good question. I'd like datapoints on this too.

Does it matter?



I believe Income from 1099-Int goes on a different line than income from 1099-misc, so, yes?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:08 am

*3!4!/5! wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
tj wrote:Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?
Good question. I'd like datapoints on this too.

Does it matter?

Yes, it can potentially increase taxes by more than $6,000 by having an extra $1 on 1099INT rather than 1099MISC.


Schwab explicitly states that for taxable accounts it will issue a 1099-MISC. (See the footnote in the link below.)

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/ ... award.html

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Jan 22, 2017 5:13 am

tj wrote:
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
*3!4!/5! wrote:
tj wrote:Do all of the brokerages report the bonus income on 1099-misc? Or do some do 1099-int?
Good question. I'd like datapoints on this too.

Does it matter?



I believe Income from 1099-Int goes on a different line than income from 1099-misc, so, yes?


Yes, 1099-INT is generally reported on line 8 while 1099-MISC would generally go on line 21 (unless it is self-employment income, which would not apply here.)

The effect on AGI and taxable income would be the same either way, but income reported on line 8 counts toward "investment income" which could potentially disqualify a taxpayer for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), while income reported on line 21 does not. Since EITC is a refundable tax credit which can add over $6,000 to a taxpayer's refund, this is a consideration.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by sdvan » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:04 pm

I have over $900K in individual municipal bonds at Zions Direct. They are changing their systems in a way that I don't like. So, I am motivated to move all of my bonds elsewhere. I was going to add some cash and move $1 million to Fidelity for the $2500 bonus. But, the airline mileage option was so tempting that I started thinking about multiple transfers. If I moved $900K to Fidelity over 5 years (using one account for me and one for my spouse), I'd get 450K miles. So, where to hold the bonds in the interim? That got me searching and I saw this thread.

Tell me if this plan is too crazy (all transfers would be muni bonds and I don't know for sure if everyone would take those):

1. $200K to Fidelity now for 100K miles. I know this will work as I did it last year.
2. $500K to TD Ameritrade in 2 accounts (me and spouse) = $2000
3. $200K to Schwab in 2 accounts (me and spouse) = $1000

Then, over the next 4 years, move $200K per year to Fidelity and get another 350K miles.

It is more work. But, the end result is $3K (more than the $2.5K from fidelity) + 450K miles.

Is this crazy? Will it work?

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by cookymonster » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:39 pm

sdvan wrote:I have over $900K in individual municipal bonds at Zions Direct. They are changing their systems in a way that I don't like. So, I am motivated to move all of my bonds elsewhere. I was going to add some cash and move $1 million to Fidelity for the $2500 bonus. But, the airline mileage option was so tempting that I started thinking about multiple transfers. If I moved $900K to Fidelity over 5 years (using one account for me and one for my spouse), I'd get 450K miles. So, where to hold the bonds in the interim? That got me searching and I saw this thread.

Tell me if this plan is too crazy (all transfers would be muni bonds and I don't know for sure if everyone would take those):

1. $200K to Fidelity now for 100K miles. I know this will work as I did it last year.
2. $500K to TD Ameritrade in 2 accounts (me and spouse) = $2000
3. $200K to Schwab in 2 accounts (me and spouse) = $1000

Then, over the next 4 years, move $200K per year to Fidelity and get another 350K miles.

It is more work. But, the end result is $3K (more than the $2.5K from fidelity) + 450K miles.

Is this crazy? Will it work?

You actually have a spouse on board with this? Congrats, you married well.

Don't see any reason this won't work. I am always churning bonuses and have my money spread in 3-4 brokerages at a time. The most efficient way to make money is to maximize the bonus $/(investment $ x time invested) at each firm, which means maximizing the numerator and minimizing both components of the denominator.

Here's how I would rate the quality of these bonuses:
Fidelity - if you value AA miles highly (1.7 cents each?), this is outstanding. Main downside is you would have to keep money there for 10-12 months before seeking the next bonus.
TD Ameritrade - this is obviously a large bonus, but TD Ameritrade requires you to keep that money tied up for a year. You can make that money work harder in the course of a year at brokerages (Merrill Edge, E*Trade) with smaller bonuses but substantially shorter holding requirements.
Schwab - this one looks good for the size of the bonus you get for only 100k. Its main downside is the 12 month holding requirement, but the size of the bonus makes up for it.

To sum up, if you don't mind doing the work and churning these, I like doing the fidelity and Schwab bonuses, but I would consider Merrill Edge ($600 bonus) for now instead of TD Ameritrade. Merrill Edge usually only requires you to keep the assets there for 3 months, and then you can move those assets to E*Trade for their $600 6-month bonus. At that point I usually have TD Ameritrade, Capital One, and a few others in the rotation.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by MisterBill » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:25 am

stlutz wrote:Has anybody tried to "double-up" on different bonuses from Fidelity?

For most of their bonuses they have a rule that you can only do it once every 12 months. Does that mean for that particular bonus only or for all of them? For example, could one could transfer $50K and get 300 free trades (with 2 years to use them) and transfer another $50K and get $200 cash, both within a month of each other?

Pretty sure it''s one bonus per person per 12 months, period.

If you're married, you could sign your spouse up for a bonus and move more money that way. Not sure if that would work if moving into a joint account with your name on it.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by jclarke805 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:51 pm

I have an appt with a guy at BOA next week to discuss doing a partial transfer of cash in an IRA from Fidelity to Merrill Edge. I plan to do the minimum amount for the maximum bonus which I think is $600 for 200K.

Thinking of asking him, OK...$600 for 200K, how about 400K or 600K or 800K or 1M ?

Will you give me $600 for each 200K?

If he says no, then I'll just move the minimum.

How is the process started?

Does Merrill start the process or do I have to contact Fidelity to get things started?

I think of it as a shot across the bow for Fidelity.

I have a pretty big account there and I feel like they are taking me for granted since I don't complain much.

Just not feeling the love from Fido lately.

I believe everyone should be treated equally but I also believe money talks.
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:30 pm

I always do the transfer from the receiver. Generally there is no need to do anything at the current custodian. With Merrill Edge, you can do transfers from most of the larger brokerages online. Just open the new account, then go to the funding or transfer options in the menu. For all cash, I'm not sure exactly which you use. Frankly I wouldn't bother meeting with BofA. You should have an account with them so you can get Preferred Rewards.

I don't look for custodians to pamper me. I'm there for the money and ready to go for the money.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by EHoops » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:48 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:I always do the transfer from the receiver. Generally there is no need to do anything at the current custodian. With Merrill Edge, you can do transfers from most of the larger brokerages online. Just open the new account, then go to the funding or transfer options in the menu. For all cash, I'm not sure exactly which you use. Frankly I wouldn't bother meeting with BofA. You should have an account with them so you can get Preferred Rewards.

I don't look for custodians to pamper me. I'm there for the money and ready to go for the money.


OP: Great thread and thanks for the consistent updates and help. I've historically used credit cards for rewards and free balance transfers. Brokerage bonuses is a new game that appeals to me. Alas, I have a bit of trepidation for some reason.

My initial plan is the following so I'd appreciate any tips in case I'm missing something:

1. We are going to move $15,000 into Discover's Savings Account for $100 by 1/31...and then move it soon.
2. ROTH is with Vanguard so switch from VTSAX to ETF of same and then open Merrill Edge account with same ETF funds for $100 bonus.
3. Repeat #2 for my wife for another $100 bonus.

Total of $300 for about 30 minutes of work and I can move all monies soon (within a few months/90 days in ME).

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:39 pm

Sounds good. Normally I would suggest opening a Bank of America account of some sort to qualify for Preferred Rewards. You would get free trades at Merrill Edge with that, but if you're not planning to stay then the initial bunch would cover you.

I assume from the bonus you mentioned that each account is between 20k and 50k. You could also look at one of the BofA cards that will give you a rewards bonus of 25%. That's not as attractive as the higher rewards for more assets, but there is an initial bonus based on spending. I don't know if they allow aggregating spouse's IRAs for PP purposes. You could ask.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:22 pm

In the interests of providing experiences, I had a small hiccup in my latest venture. I signed up for the Merrill Edge $1000 offer at the end of December. I had assets at Etrade and BancWest available. The latter is not one where you can do the transfer solely with the web form. In that case, you add in the brokerage information (address etc.) and a fillable PDF form is created for you to sign and submit. It can be signed with Adobe Reader, where I was able to create a signature that looks reasonably like mine (not that easy to do with a mouse).

So that form and a copy of the most recent BWIS statement were uploaded. The transfer status for a few days showed "Awaiting documents". Yesterday, it changed to "Cancelled". I called last night, but the rep wasn't sure what happened and no one from the transfer department was still in the office. This morning someone called back. The transfer is still going. He wasn't sure why the status showed cancelled (it still does) but I have his email to bug him if things don't progress.

The Etrade transfer, started a day later, has already completed. That's four days. I usually prefer the all-electronic at Edge, but I needed those BWIS assets to make the 200k. Besides, they've been sitting around not working for too long.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by tj » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:31 pm

@Earl - out of curiosity, how long have you waited it in between Edge bonuses? Do the promo's apply to existing accounts?

For example, I own 1 share of BRKB at Edge. It's all I currently have at Edge. Because it was free to buy it there. Should I transfer that somewhere else (or maybe even just sell it and liquidate the acct) and close that account in order to trigger a new bonus? Or, can I keep it open and still trigger a bonus by adding to it? I want to say I opened the account around 12/15, because I qualified for preferred rewards around 3/16. Very soon I'll no longer qualify for preferred and will need to close the BofA checking account to avoid a fee as most of my assets are stuck at Ameritrade until September.

I know Fidelity gives bonuses for adding to existing accounts, not sure about Edge....

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by whodidntante » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:43 pm

I would love to have a BoA checking account for future preferred rewards. BoA offers $350 targeted checking bonuses and so far I have not been targeted. Does anyone know how BoA picks targets?

I currently have a travel rewards card and a Merrill Lynch card with BoA, no other accounts. I may open a merrill edge account in September, depending on the brokerage bonus landscape at that time.

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:23 pm

With this latest one, I just opened a new account. It's easy and you can apply the offer code at creation. The terms say:

Offer valid only for new Merrill Edge self-directed IRA and CMA accounts. Offer is limited to one per account type (CMA or IRA); two total per accountholder (or per all accountholders of a joint account). Eligible IRAs limited to Rollover, Traditional, Roth and Sole-Proprietor SEP IRAs only. This offer does not apply to Business/Corporate Accounts, Investment Club Accounts, Partnership Accounts and certain fiduciary accounts held with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. Merrill Edge reserves the right to change or cancel this offer at any time. Offer only valid for accounts that enroll through the process specified below.


This is at least my third ME bonus, maybe more. I would need to check my records. The current taxable account had all the assets except for a bit of cash transferred elsewhere for a bonus. I tend to have at least 100k at Edge in one account or another so I haven't run into the Preferred Rewards being downgraded.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by jayhawkerbeef » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:36 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote: I tend to have at least 100k at Edge in one account or another so I haven't run into the Preferred Rewards being downgraded.


Per the program details, it'll be a while before being downgraded once you qualify for a tier.

"You'll receive an automatic tier upgrade when your balances qualify you for the next rewards tier. No need to worry if your balances dip now and then—once you reach a rewards tier, you'll keep your program benefits for a full 12 months."

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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:52 pm

jayhawk wrote:"You'll receive an automatic tier upgrade when your balances qualify you for the next rewards tier.

Good information. The main benefit I get is the rewards bonus on the credit card. As long as Edge keeps letting me get bonuses, I'll have money shuttling in periodically. If not, well I'll need to evaluate. CC rewards are nice, but not that nice.
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Re: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses

Post by *3!4!/5! » Fri Jan 27, 2017 5:28 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:...So that form and a copy of the most recent BWIS statement were uploaded. The transfer status for a few days showed "Awaiting documents". Yesterday, it changed to "Cancelled". I called last night, but the rep wasn't sure what happened ....

One transfer I did a few months ago still appears in the "Service Requests" tab as "Cancelled" but it went through fine. Two other more recent transfers initially did, but no longer, appear in the "Service Requests" tab. So it could just be shoddy coding that once a "Service Request" is completed, it is (sometimes) "Cancelled". In your case, it may or may not indicate a problem.

whodidntante wrote:I would love to have a BoA checking account for future preferred rewards. BoA offers $350 targeted checking bonuses and so far I have not been targeted. Does anyone know how BoA picks targets?

I currently have a travel rewards card and a Merrill Lynch card with BoA, no other accounts. I may open a merrill edge account in September, depending on the brokerage bonus landscape at that time.


I waited a couple of months in the hope of getting a targeted checking bonus offer, but got nothing, while spouse just got the $100 offer. I the end we just opened the accounts, since we needed them for Pref Rew. Apparently BoA is strict about the targeting, so if you are not targeted you won't get the bonus

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