Banks Push Referral Programs

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Banks are counting on you for more than just your money — they want your friends and family, too. On that front, banks are pushing referral programs where you can earn some decent money by getting someone close to you to sign up with a bank.

Banks like ING Direct (Stock Quote: ING), Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) and BancCorp South (Stock Quote: BXS) have all rolled out new bank customer referral program where existing customers can get cash bonuses for bringing friends, family members and coworkers aboard.

The ING Direct program, for example, lets you refer up to 50 people — at a referral rate of $35 for every sign-up ($25 for your referral and $10 for you). So if you successfully refer 10 people, you’ll earn $100 for yourself, and $250 for your friends.

Bank of America’s customer referral program ups the ante. It allows a $25 cash bonus for you and your referral. Better yet, you can earn  $50 for referring any small business owner to Bank of America ($50 also goes to the owner).

Bancorp South has an equally interesting customer referral offer — one that could net existing customers and their referral each a $50 MasterCard (Stock Quote: MA) gift card. Here, directly from the Web site, are the steps you need to take to rake in the referral cash:

  • Provide your contact information and valid e-mail address for the friends you are referring and click the submit form.
  • Your friends will receive an e-mail notification containing details about this offer, registration instructions and provisions of the program.
  • Once your friends register and then open a new personal checking account at a convenient Bancorp South location, they simply make a purchase with their debit card within 45 days of account opening. Then you both will receive a $50 MasterCard gift card.

Customer referrals are hardly a new idea — anyone who has been watching the NBA playoffs has seen one of those ubiquitous Direct TV (Stock Quote: DTV) adds where customers can "add up the Benjamins" by referring friends and family to the satellite television provider.

But it’s also an area where banks historically don’t tread so much. Still, with bank consumers seeking value in just about every financial move they make, handing out $50 bills to customers who simply make a referral, it’s an area where we can expect to see more activity down the road.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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