Like many other businesses, investment brokers sometimes offer bonuses to encourage investors to sign up with their services. Not all brokers offer a sign-up bonus, but a surprising number do. In this article, we’ll look at the 13 best investment broker bonus offers available in 2023.
Be aware that each of these bonus offers has an expiration date. Where available, we’ve included that date in our summaries. However, many brokers assign a cutoff date, then extend it each month. In that way, many expiration dates operate on a rolling basis.
Best Investment Broker Bonuses
We’ve ranked each of the 12 brokers based on a combination of 1) the amount of the bonus offer, and 2) the ease with which it can be obtained. And where it matters, we’ve also considered the amount of time required to tie up funds to qualify for the bonus offer.
Ultimately the merit of any bonus will depend primarily on your own personal circumstances. For example, if you have a seven-figure investment portfolio to transfer from another broker, it may simply be a matter of choosing the most generous bonus offer.
1. M1 Finance – Get Up to $4,000
M1 Finance is one of the best robo-advisors today, in my opinion. It charges no management fee and empowers investors to create a portfolio of ETFs and stocks. It then makes rebalancing the portfolio as easy as clicking a button. I used M1 for about a year, and found the site very easy to use.
The amount of the bonus depends on how much you transfer to M1. Bonuses start at $100 for transferring $50,000 and go up to $4,000 with a transfer of $2 million or more. The bonus is slated to end on January 14, 2023, but M1 often extends its bonus offer.
|$50k – $99k||$100|
|$100k – $249k||$250|
|$250k – $499k||$500|
|$500k – $999k||$1,000|
|$1M – $1.9M||$2,000|
Note that promotional credits will be paid to eligible clients on June 6, 2023.
2. Public – Get Up to $10,000
Public is offering a bonus of up to $10,000 when you transfer an investment account to Public by December 31, 2022. The website says the promotion will expire on that date, but it is possible it will be extended on a month-to-month basis.
Funds must be transferred from another investment broker. In addition to the cash bonus, they’ll also pay any transfer fees imposed by the other broker if the incoming account value is at least $500.
- Deposit $5,000 to $24,999: $150
- $25,000 to $99,999: $250
- $100,000 to $249,999: $1,000
- $250,000 to $499,999: $2,500
- $500,000 to $999,999: $5,000
- $1 million or more: $10,000
3. E-Trade – Get Up to $3,500
E*TRADE is paying a cash bonus, ranging from $50 to as much as $3,500 when you open a new account with as little as $5,000. You must fund your account within 60 days of opening with the required minimum to qualify for the bonus of your choice.
Existing E*TRADE customers are eligible to participate in the bonus at a reduced rate. The offer applies to brokerage and Coverdell accounts, as well as retirement accounts.
Existing customers with current account balances between $500,000 and $999,999:
Existing customers with current account balances between $1 million and $1,499,999:
Existing customers with current account balances of $1.5 million and higher:
4. Firstrade – Get Up to $4,000
Firstrade is paying a bonus, ranging from $50 to as much as $4,000 when you open and fund a Firstrade Brokerage account. To be eligible for the bonus, you must open an account and make a qualifying deposit no later than January 17, 2023. The account must be funded within 30 days of opening and includes new accounts only. The offer applies only to individual, joint or custodial brokerage accounts, and not to IRAs.
The account must remain open for 12 months and maintain the qualifying deposit to qualify for the bonus. Firstrade is also offering to reimburse transfer fees from other brokerage accounts for up to $200.
- Deposit $5,000 to $9,999: $50
- $10,000 to $24,999: $100
- $25,000 to $99,999: $300
- $100,000 to $499,999: $700
- $500,000 to $999,999: $1,500
- $1 million to $1,499,999: $3,000
- $1.5 million or more: $4,000
5. Merrill Edge – Get Up to $600
Merrill Edge is offering a bonus of up to $600 when you open and fund a new account. You need to open an account with at least $20,000 to qualify for the minimum bonus of $100. Funds must be deposited within 45 days of account opening, and the balance maintained for at least 90 days. The offer applies strictly to a Merrill Edge Self-Directed account.
- Deposit $20,000 to $49,999: $100
- $50,000 to $99,999: $150
- $100,000 to $199,999: $250
- $200,000 or more: $600
If you have significantly more to transfer than $200,000, you may be able to negotiate a much higher bonus. Contact a Merrill Edge advisor to get their best offer. I did this last year and received an offer of nearly $5,000, although I ended up going with a different broker.
6. J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing – Get Up to $625
J.P. Morgan is offering a bonus of up to $625 when you open a new account by January 19, 2023. You must open a new Self-Directed Investing account by that date, then transfer the qualifying funds into the account within 45 days of opening. The bonus amount will be determined on Day 45.
Deposited funds must remain in your account for at least 90 days to qualify for the bonus. The bonus will be paid into your account within 15 days thereafter. The bonus applies on either taxable brokerage accounts or traditional and Roth IRA accounts.
- Deposit $25,000 to $99,999: $125
- $100,000 to $249 999: $300
- $250,000 or more: $625
7. Citi Self-Invest – Get Up to $500
Citi is offering a bonus of up to $500 when you open a Self-Invest account between now and January 31, 2023. To qualify for the minimum bonus of $100, you must deposit at least $10,000 into your account. The bonus applies to deposits made in either new or existing Self-Invest accounts.
Funds must be maintained in the account through January 31, 2023, for deposits made by December 31, 2022, and through February 28, 2023, for deposits made by January 31, 2023. The cash bonus will be credited to your account 90 days after the funds’ maintenance date.
- Deposit $10,000 to $49,999: $100
- $50,000 to $199,999: $200
- $200,000 or more: $500
8. Axos Invest – Get Up to $200
Axos Invest is paying a bonus of $200 when you open either a Managed Portfolios account or a Self-Directed Trading account. You must open an account no later than January 31, 2023.
The bonus will be paid on new Managed Portfolios accounts after you open an account and deposit at least $2,000 into the account within 60 days of account opening. On Self-Directed Trading accounts, you must complete at least two trades to be eligible. The bonus will be deposited into your account after you’ve completed the first two trades.
- Managed Portfolios account: $200, 60 days after you deposit at least $2,000
- Self-Directed Trading account: $200 after completing two trades
9. Charles Schwab – Get Up to $1,000
The biggest retail investment broker in America is paying a bonus of up to $1,000 when you open and fund a new account after you’re referred by an existing Schwab customer.
Like most investment broker promotions, the bonus is tiered based on the amount of funds you deposit into your account. To qualify, you’ll need to get a referral code from your Schwab friend. Funds must be deposited into an investment account within 45 days. Funds deposited into the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account do not qualify.
- Deposit $25,000 to $49,999: $100
- $50,000 to $99,999: $300
- $100,000 to $499,999: $500
- $500,000 or more: $1,000
For higher balances, you may be able to negotiate a larger bonus. Contact Schwab directly to inquire.
10. Fidelity Investments – Get Up to $100
Fidelity Investments is paying a bonus of $100 when you open a new account and fund it with at least $50. The bonus applies to the Fidelity Account, Fidelity Cash Management Account, and Roth and traditional IRA accounts.
New account holders will not be eligible for the bonus if they have previously participated in a Fidelity bonus promotion. However, you are eligible if you already have a Fidelity account and open one of the three accounts above.
- $100 when you deposit $50 or more in a new account.
- Deposit must be made within 15 days of account opening.
- Bonus will be paid 10 calendar days after the qualification period ends. Bonus funds must be retained in your account for a minimum of 90 calendar days.
11. Wealthfront – Get Up to $5,000 Managed Free
Wealthfront is a robo-advisor, not an investment broker, so the bonus program works a little bit differently. They don’t currently offer a new account bonus. But you can get up to $5,000 managed free (of their normal advisory fee of 0.25%) when you refer a friend to the investment service.
Meanwhile, the friend will also get $5,000 managed free. For both you and your friend, the free management will be worth $12.50 per year. The friend must open an account using an invite you provide. The fee waiver applies only to Wealthfront investment accounts, not cash accounts.
12. SoFi Invest – Get Up to $1,000 in Free Stock
SoFi is offering a bonus of much as $1,000 in free stock when you move your portfolio from another broker into a SoFi Invest account. They’ll also cover up to $75 in transfer fees charged by the other broker. The bonus applies to new accounts only and must be funded with a minimum of $10 within 30 days of account opening.
The bonus is payable in stock, and the website discloses the likelihood of receiving a stock worth $1,000 is 0.028%. You must open a SoFi Active Invest brokerage account to qualify.
SoFi discloses the odds of receiving stock at various values as follows:
13. Webull – Get Up to 12 Free Stocks Worth up to $3,000
Webull is offering a bonus paid in fractional shares. When you open a Webull brokerage account, each fractional share will be valued between $3 and $300. But you can get up to 10 fractional shares when you make an initial deposit of any amount, with each valued at between $7 and $3,000. Funds must be deposited into the new account within 10 days of account opening.
Probability of the value of account opening stock rewards is as follows:
- $3 to $10: 1/1.02
- $11 to $50: 1/52.63
- $51 to $150: 1/1,111.11
- $150 to $300: 1/10,000
Probability of the value of initial deposit rewards stock is as follows:
- $7 to $30: 1/1.02
- $31 to $100: 1/52.63
- $101 to $999: 1/1,111.11
- $1,000 to $3,000: 1/10,000
Are investment broker bonuses taxable?
Income from just about any source is taxable at both the federal and state level. That includes investment broker bonuses. However, a broker will generally not issue a Form 1099 for the amount of the bonus unless it is at least $600, per IRS guidelines.
What are the typical requirements to qualify for an investment broker bonus?
Specific requirements vary by broker, but you can expect to see any mix of the following:
1. Opening an account by a specific date.
2. With most brokers, qualification applies only to new accounts.
3. Meeting minimum funds deposit requirements, usually by a secondary date.
4. Some brokers require funds to be transferred from an investment account held with another broker.
5. Maintaining the minimum fund balance for a specified period of time, which is often 90 days.
What happens if I don’t meet all the requirements of a broker bonus?
If you fail to meet even one requirement the broker probably won’t pay the bonus. Investment broker bonus requirements are something of a matrix. You need to familiarize yourself with all conditions of any bonus offer and be fully prepared to meet them. If not, opening a new account may not be worth doing, unless the bonus was never the main reason for doing so.
Is a bonus a good reason to open an account with a specific broker?
Generally, no. It’s important to remember that a bonus is a one-time event. What’s more important are the ongoing features and benefits a broker offers. That includes commissions and fees, customer service, investment resources and education, and the number of investments offered, among others factors.
None of the bonus offers listed in this article are set in stone. Investment brokers, like other businesses, add and withdraw offers on a regular basis. It’s also possible a broker may either reduce or even enhance a bonus offer, so always pay careful attention to the details of any program.
And once again, never open an account just because it offers an attractive bonus. Investing is serious business and has too many moving parts to justify transferring accounts in an open-ended search for the bonus du jour.