These investing platforms give you a bonus to sign up: Here's what you need to know

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There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with credit card issuers advertising large welcome offers to incentivize you to apply for a new credit card.

A similar approach is used in the investing world: Trading apps attempt to lure in new customers with sign-up bonuses of free trades, free stocks or even free cash to get you started. Here’s what you need to know.

Similar to how new credit cardholders typically have to meet a spending requirement within a specified time frame in order to earn a welcome offer, investors opening new accounts in hopes of earning a little bonus often have to meet certain criteria as well.

The good news is that you usually won’t have to jump through many hoops. On one end, you may need to simply open a new account with a brokerage in order to earn something like free stock. Other times, the broker may require you to first fund your account with a minimum amount and/or make a trade in order to earn a bonus.

Whatever the advertised offer may be, note that brokers often change these, so it may not be available forever. And, as with opening any new financial account, make sure you read the fine print so you know exactly what is expected of you to earn the bonus.

Remember that while it’s a good perk to receive “free” cash or stocks, it shouldn’t be the sole reason you decide to invest through a particular brokerage. The broker should also offer other benefits, like no trading fees and a user-friendly interface, that align with your overall investing goals to make it really worthwhile.

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Brokerages that offer sign-up bonuses

Looking to invest and earn a bonus in the meantime? Check out what some brokerages are offering new customers, plus the criteria needed to earn the bonuses:

Acorns: Receive $10 bonus investment after signing up and completing first investment ($5 minimum).

Ally Invest: Get up to $3,000 in bonus cash when you open and fund an Ally Invest Self-Directed account. Deposit minimums start at $10,000, and the more you deposit, the more you earn.

Betterment: Up to one year of free management service with a qualifying deposit within 45 days of signup. Valid only for new individual investment accounts with Betterment LLC.

E*TRADE: For a limited time only: Get up to $3,500 when you open and fund a new eligible retirement or brokerage account by Mar. 1, 2022, and funded within 60 days of account opening, using promo code: REWARD22. Deposit minimums start at $10,000, and the more you deposit, the more you earn.

Robinhood: Robinhood will give you 1 share of free stock when you open a new account, link your bank account and fulfill the conditions in your promotion. You’ll be able to keep the stock or sell it after 2 trading days.

SoFi Invest®: Get up to $1,000 when you open an active investing account in the app. No purchase necessary. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. Get up to $100 in Bitcoin when you make your first trade with SoFi Crypto. Offer ends Jan. 31, 2022.

Webull: Get 2 free stocks: Your first free stock (valued up to $300) when you open your Webull brokerage account and another free stock (valued up to $3,000) when you deposit any amount into your account.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.