Posted by Chuck on May 21, 2015
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on May 21st, 2015 | by Chuck

68

[EXPIRED][NJ] Ocean First Bank $300 Checking Account Bonus [No Direct Deposit Required]



[UPDATE: The $300 Promotion has been updated, the new offer will be running for a limited time. It has greatly improved and become much easier to achieve than the previous promotion.]

Ocean First Bank $300 Bonus Details

There’s an awesome bank bonus now available for those in the New Jersey area with Ocean First Bank. I did this bonus last year and I believe it’s the very best bank bonus available. We recently started adding some state-specific bank bonuses to our Best Bank Bonus page, and we’ll be adding this one in over there.

Offer at a glance



  • Maximum bonus amount: $300
  • Availability: New Jersey
  • Direct deposit required: None
  • Additional requirements: 50 debit card transactions
  • Hard/soft pull: soft
  • Credit card funding: yes [at least $2500]
  • Monthly fees: Waive-able 
  • Early account termination fee: Account must remain open for a year
  • Expiration date: June 30, 2015

The Offer

Direct Link

Here are the options available:

  • Open Simply Great checking or Classic Checking and request the free debit card which comes with it, and receive $100 immediately.
  • [UPDATE] : The new promotion only requires 30 signature or online transactions within 75 days of account opening. The additional $200 bonus will then be deposited 5 days after the 75 day period if the requirement is met.

The other option is to:

  • Open a Totally Free Checking account or an A+ Student Checking account and receive $50  + 25,000 Uchoose Rewards points (worth around $200 in gift cards, such as Amazon, Target or Walmart gift cards). Must request the free debit card which comes with the account, and must register for the Uchoose Rewards program. Use the debit card 30 times for online or signature transactions within 75 days.

[UPDATE: A reader tells us that the bank informs customers that there is a minimum $2 transaction amount with each of the transactions. Be sure to do the 50 transactions with a minimum of $2 each.]

[UPDATE: After speaking with the banker I was informed they removed the $2 requirement from the current promotion, which will help many people to achieve the current bonus. The new bonus is also simplified by requiring only 30 (signature or online) transaction during the first 75 days of account opening.]

Waiving Fees

  • Simply Great Checking account comes with a $6.95 monthly maintenance fee. Fee is waived with a daily minimum balance of $5000.
  • Classic Checking comes with a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee. Fee is waived with a daily minimum balance of $1000.
  • Totally Free Checking and Student Checking accounts don’t come with monthly fees.

Geographic Availability

Ocean First Bank has around 25 locations throughout NJ. Locator

Online they are only accepting applications for Ocean County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Mercer County. All residents of NJ can likely apply in-branch even if you don’t live in those counties. We verified this is possible thanks to reader Eric. It may be possible for residents of other states to apply in-branch, but we have no data points.

[UPDATE: We still don’t have positive verification for non-NJ residents, please respond in the comments if you have any data points, your help is greatly appreciated.]

The Fine Print

  • Must use promo code: OFB300 [The promo code was not specified on the sheet, I would suggest calling in to double check if applying online]
  • “Offer available as of May 15, 2015 for a limited time and subject to change at any time” It’s fair to assume that if the landing page is still there, that means the offer is still available, but it’s worth calling in to verify. In my experience, the CSRs are aware of the promo.
  • All cash bonus’ are taxable.
  • $50 minimum to open account.
  • Account must remain open and active for 1 year or bonus will be forfeited.
  • Limit of one cash bonus per household.
  • New customers only.

Credit Card Funding



When I opened up my account last year, I opened in-branch so I couldn’t use credit card funding. However I did open a savings account with them a few month later and I was able to fund it with a credit card.

From memory, I used a Chase card (with cash advance set to zero) and funded $1,000, and it went through fine as a purchase (and helped me meet a minimum spend requirement). At that time, I wasn’t interested in funding the account with more than $1,000, but it’s possible that the true limit is higher than $1,000.

I’m assuming this initial funding option is still around, and I’m fairly confident that the checking account will also have the $1,000 (or higher) credit card funding option.

[UPDATE: A reader informed us that it’s possible to do at least $2500 in credit card funding for the checking account.]

Soft/Hard Pull

In my experience, there is no hard pull done by Ocean First for a new checking account (nor for a new savings account). Presumably, there is a Chex inquiry done.

Our Verdict

For those in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, this offer is really awesome! You can open an account online, fund it with a credit card, get no hard pull, get an immediate $100, and easily meet the requirement to get another $200. All with no direct deposit necessary.

For those in other parts of NJ, we have verified it is possible to go into a branch and open an account for all residents of NJ. We still have no data points for out of state residents.

Here’s how I’d go about completing this offer, if I wasn’t an existing customer:

  • Go to the landing page and click “open account”.
  • Open the Classic Checking account with promo code OFB300,  and order a debit card with the account. (There’s no advantage in the Simply Great Checking over the Classic, and the Classic is easier to keep fee-free.)
  • Fund it with the max allowed with a credit card ($1,000 or more). If you fund it with more than $1,000, you can immediately withdraw the funds to your regular high-interest savings account, but be sure to leave $1,000 in the account at all times to avoid fees. Also, leave some extra money to cover the cost of the debit card transactions.
  • Do 25 30 signature debit card card transactions. You can buy 30 $.50 Amazon gift cards (slowly), or load your Serve card or your Chime card, see this post for more options. Personally, I did both the Amazon $.50 and the Chime method since it was a high bonus and I wanted to be doubly sure it worked, but it really wasn’t necessary.
  • Between day 46 and day 75 do another 25 debit card transactions.
  • Keep the $1,000 balance in the account for one full year. Then close the account.

All told, you’ll end up with $300, plus an extra 1,000 (or more) credit card points from the initial funding.

Another option could be to open the Totally Free Checking account instead. You’d end up with $50 plus around $200 in Amazon/Target/Walmart gift cards (after redeeming the Uchoose Reward points) and you’d have the advantage of not tying up $1,000.

If you don’t live in the above-mentioned counties, it gets trickier. First you need to verify that they’ll be willing to open an account for your area and that the bonus can be applied to accounts opened in branch. I’m optimistic on both of these things, but I haven’t been able to verify them. (Last time, in-branch applications were fine.) Then you’ll need to find the nearest branch and go in to open the account. You’ll also  lose the extra credit card points, since credit card funding isn’t an option in-branch. Still, it could be a great offer.

Thanks to Maximizing Money for making us aware that this offer is back up.

Thanks to DoC writer Mileswhip for updating the information regarding the updated limited time promotion.

As always, you can see all available bank bonuses here, and our top picks here.



68 Responses to [EXPIRED][NJ] Ocean First Bank $300 Checking Account Bonus [No Direct Deposit Required]

  1. Helix says:

    I live in Bergen County, but have family in Middlesex County whose address I can use. Are there any particular problems to be aware of if I try to open an account online using their address? Of course I realize I’d have to provide my “previous” address too for Chex verification.

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      I’m not an expert on this, but my guess is you’d end up okay. They may, however, ask you for some kind of address verification sent in, such as a utility bill and the like. If you don’t think you could get any kind of such verification, it may be a problem. Usually, anything sent in the mail is fine, so you should be able to mail yourself a letter and go that way, but it’s possible they’ll want something more official.

  2. GAURAV says:

    Confirmed with CCare, offer is available. I live in Middlesex county, applied online and approved !!

    Will post feedback once Bonuses start posting.

  3. Eric says:

    Has anyone that lives in another county in NJ had success?

  4. Eric says:

    Chuck,

    I just read the post you linked to regarding your Amazon account getting frozen. I always worried that something like that could happen so I’ve never bought more than 3 or 4 Amazon gc in a day. Is it possible that your bank was the one that caused your Amazon account to be frozen? Did you simply buy 50 $.50 Amazon gc for this OceanFirst promotion? Did they literally hand you $100 cash at account opening or just added it to your account?

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      The $100 gets added at account opening into the checking account.

      I didn’t do 50 in one shot. As I noted, I had done a bunch spread out over a few days. One fine day I tried doing more than 10 in one shot and I got my account frozen. Doing a few at a time shouldn’t be a problem at all.

      I don’t think the problem was on my banks end since they didn’t put a security freeze on the account.
      Sorry for the delayed response.

      • Eric says:

        No problem. What I meant was for this OceanFirst promotion did you buy 50 Amazon gc to cover the promotion or did you mix in regular spend and buy less than 50 Amazon gc?

        • Chuck Sithe says:

          Personally, I like double-doing things for big bonuses like these, so I did the $.50 amazon and I also did $25 loads onto my chime card.

          • Eric says:

            Do you mean you did 50 of each? Is there any reason I couldn’t add the debit card to my Serve account and load a few times with that? Does Serve have a minimum value to load?

          • Chuck Sithe says:

            I did it last year and the bonus structure was a little different then.

            The Serve idea is a good one, you could do 50 $1 loads on Serve. The only hassle with Serve is that you’ll probably have to verify the account.

            If you do Amazon, be sure to opt out of PIN-less debit, just to be sure. See this post /whos-the-sucker/

  5. Eric says:

    Chuck, I read the post you linked to and still don’t understand why I need to opt out of PIN-less debit on Amazon’s site. Are you saying that won’t count as purchases with this OceanFirst debit card? It’s very unlikely I’m going to do that Serve idea. I don’t want to risk my Serve account being shut down for abuse.

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      Yeah, there’s a chance that if you don’t opt out then it will be viewed similar to a PIN transaction and won’t work. But it’s pretty easy to opt-out and I’d recommend doing that.

      See also Freemoney’s comment below.

      • Eric says:

        Yeah, I saw his comment last week. The closest branch to me is over 50 miles away so it’s somewhat costly to go there not to mention wasting a lot of time. This new $2 term makes it even worse but I still might an open an account.

  6. Freemoney says:

    I just signed up for this account and was able to deposit 2500 from a credit card. They now sent me a letter regarding the spend bonus and it says 25 purchases of $2 or more. Is this a new term or it’s old and not inforced? I did plan on doing .50 for the bonus hope I still can. Thanks.

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      Big thanks for letting us know about that. The terms don’t appear on the main offer page, but I bet that it will be enforced and I’d recommend making sure to do $2 transactions.

      It does make this a bigger hassle, but it’s still easy enough, either with Amazon or at the self-checkout at the supermarket or many other ways.

      I’ll update the post with the info.

      • Freemoney says:

        Is it a problem to send another email address I have $2 thru google wallet 25 times? Do I have to it slowly like I would with amazon?

        • Chuck Sithe says:

          Not sure. I’ve found Google Wallet to be hard to deal with, even at low dollar amounts. I’d recommend the self-checkout in the supermarket instead.

          • Freemoney says:

            When you say hard to deal with do you mean they’re quick to shut people down?

          • Chuck Sithe says:

            Yeah, I’ve heard of shutdowns. Personally, I once tried adding $10 to my Wallet balance and they cancelled the transaction because it looked suspicious or something. I was shocked that such a small amount would get a human review at all, but they appear to be harder to deal with than they’re reputed to be.

            It’s possible that now that they only take debit things will get easier.

    • sderd says:

      Hi Freemoney,

      Did you fund your account using the credit card online or in branch? Thanks!

      • Freemoney says:

        Online. Be careful about in-branch coding as a cash advance, in some banks even if it codes as a purchase when you do it on the web it codes as a cash advance when you do it in-branch.

  7. Eric says:

    Chuck,

    I read over the terms of the offer again and see that it says “online and/or signature based purchases”. Doesn’t that imply that PIN-less debit transactions WOULD count toward the 50? If so, I’m probably not going to opt out as I don’t mind Amazon saving money on these small purchases. It appears in your other thread that you were only talking about possibly missing out on rewards, right? This card doesn’t offer any rewards.

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      Yeah, I think it’s likely that it will work fine even if you don’t opt out. But there is a small risk.

      (There is actually a rewards program called UChoose Rewards which OF is part of. Each $1 in non-PIN spend is worth around .4 cents to be redeemed for gift cards, such as amazon, walmart or target.)

      • Eric says:

        That rewards program isn’t available on any of the accounts that offer the $100 bonus at account opening. That’s why I felt it was a moot point.

        • Chuck Sithe says:

          Are you saying that from personal experience? I didn’t think that was true.

          • Eric says:

            No, I don’t even have an account yet. You are probably right. I was thinking about the term in the offer regarding 5,000 Uchoose Rewards points for only some of the accounts. It’s very possible that the other accounts offer a rewards program too.

  8. Gaurav says:

    Any data points if OFB can be funded with Citi premier, I want to open an account for my wife and fund with Premier to meet the 3K limit (I already have one and I tried to fund it with chase Marriott and it was declined with zero cash advance limit) ?

  9. Gaurav says:

    Amazon doesn’t count as a Debit transaction however evolve does, I had 30 transactions out of which few (8) were amazon, OFB declined to accept then so is the bonus. I think they are coding every thing which people are using online so beware and only sign up if you actually want to use the debit card in stores.

    • Eric says:

      Gaurav,

      Were all of your transactions $2 or more? What do you mean by this “Amazon doesn’t count as a Debit transaction”?

  10. Gaurav says:

    I meant OFB doesn’t count Amazon transactions towards the 25 transactions we need to make for the bonus, all my transactions were above 2 dollars.

    • Eric says:

      Did they actually tell you that? The only requirements I was told were it had to be $2 or more and it had to a pin-less purchase. Amazon should not be excluded. Has anyone else had this problem?

      • Bill says:

        I spoke with CC. OFB CC says it’s an Amazon coding issue that forces it to code as debit even without the PIN.
        I didn’t bother with Evolve because of their 3% fee per transaction on OFB debit.
        The account is kinda nice to have if you end up in their footprint and ATMs for other banks may be scarce.

        • Eric says:

          What is CC? The same thing happened to me with a Walmart purchase. I didn’t use my pin but it automatically was charged as debit.

  11. Gaurav says:

    Yes, I called the customer care, she said all Amazon transactions will be excluded as they are made online, i confronted her that none of my transactions were made in stores and all are made online but she had no answer…any pointers what i could do to get my bonus as i spent time for the 25 transactions and leaving it will be no justice to my efforts..

  12. Jack says:

    I did 25 50 cent amazon gift before I knew of the $2 rule, and never got around to making $2 transactions. I got a msg the other day from ocean first telling me that they reviewed my account and see a whole bunch of amazon purchases but they don’t count since they are not $2 or more, but didn’t say online transactions don’t count.

  13. Tim says:

    Any update on if this works for people out of the state of New Jersey?

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      I don’t know. Hopefully, someone from a nearby state will be interested in doing the legwork and they’ll let us know!

      • Tim says:

        This is from Oceanfirst Bank

        “…Since you are currently out of the area you can open up an account online. Please visit our website http://oceanfirstonline.com and click on “Open an account online”. Currently we are offering a promotion if you open a Simply Great or Classic Checking account. If you get a Visa Check card we will credit your account $100.00 and then if you use the card 30 times for signature or online purchases in the next 75 days we will credit you another $200.00. The online code for this is 300PROMO.”

        Good to Go!!!

        • Eric says:

          Unbelievable. Not only did I sign up before they made the terms MUCH easier but I had to drive about 60 miles each way to open my account because they wouldn’t let me open it online.

        • Chuck Sithe says:

          Would be nice to be able to open online, but I tried it out and it doesn’t seem to allow it. Did you have success?

        • XP1 says:

          Have you tried it?

          “Thank you for your interest in OceanFirst Bank.

          Currently OceanFirst Bank is opening accounts online for residents of Ocean County, Monmouth County, Middlesex County and Mercer County.”

          • Jack says:

            You may have to use an address in one of those county’s, but still be able to open it online from out of state.

  14. abe says:

    if I did this last year can I close my account than open a new one?

    • Chuck Sithe says:

      Haha, I’m wondering the same. As far as the Terms go, it sounded okay to me, but I don’t know if it will work in practice. Maybe I’ll try it out…

  15. Eric says:

    Has anyone used the debit card to load Serve online? If so, did you earn rewards for it?

  16. Jack says:

    Did anyone try loading this with a citi card? Did it code as a cash advance?

  17. Kay says:

    I think this deal might be dead, tried to open an account and received the message “The promotional code you have entered is not recognized.” using ‘OFB300’.

  18. Peter says:

    Can anyone confirm the offer is alive or dead?The direct link still shows the same offer and looks like still alive

  19. Carlos says:

    OFB300 Not recognized

  20. Carlos says:

    For anyone willing to travel to Jackson NJ Ocean First is offering $300 again.

  21. Pingback: [NJ] Ocean First Bank $300 Checking Account Bonus - DAD CC Cards

  22. yud says:

    Ocean First Bank is now limited to $100. 🙁

      • JD says:

        Yes, unfortunately, the limit on funding savings and checking accounts is now $100 each. You can, however, fund a CD (3 month minimum) with a credit card. Total credit card funding for multiple accounts may not exceed $2500. A great way to meet minimum spend. Don’t forget to sign up for e-statements to avoid the $5 monthly charge.

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