HUFFINGTON POST
05/02/2012 02:59 pm ET | Updated May 02, 2012

Florida's C1 Bank Offering Mercedes-Benz Roadsters As Bank Account Signing Bonus

Florida's C1 Bank has announced that as part of a name change and new partnerships, it will be offering a new type of bank account where users can receive a $61,000 Mercedes-Benz roadster for free, according to a press release.

Well, not exactly free -- the sports car will serve as pre-paid interest on the account, representing an annual percentage yield rate of 1.2 percent over five years. That means in order to qualify for the cars, customers have to put down $1 million and forgo receiving the $12,000 per year they would normally receive as interest on the account for the next half decade.

According to Torque News, customers signing onto the C1 Bank Mercedes-Benz promotion can choose between four models: the 2012 SLK350 Roadster, 2012 E350 Sedan, 2012 ML350 SUV, and 2012 E350 Convertible. The bank will cover the cost of tags, title and licenses.

But as always, the promotion has fine print, which Business Insider broke down in their review of the deal. The offer ends on May 31, 2012 and only applies to Florida residents who do not already have an account with the bank. And if customers decide to withdraw their money at any point during the next five years, they'll be charged a $3,000 withdrawal fee as well as the cost of the Mercedes when it was new.

According to Business Insider, C1 Bank's promotion is part of a growing trend -- more companies around the nation are offering flashy signup bonuses in order to attract new customers, capitalizing on people's tendencies to go for the big reward now rather than wait a little and receive greater gains.

"Travel rewards" credit cards that come with a signing bonus of free airline miles or hotel discounts are a popular example of this, with customers hoping to cash in rewards and close their accounts before annual fees can be applied, the paper reported.

But closing accounts prematurely can affect a customer's credit in numerous ways, and if people close too early they can run the risk of erasing their credit history. Nevertheless, analysts expect young consumers to continue signing up for reward and bonus-intensive deals.

"[Offering big signing bonuses] could be a particularly deadly approach [for banks] to take with the next generation of Certificate of Deposit investors -- Gen-Y, also known as Gen Now," the marketing site Financial Brand told Business Insider.

CONVERSATIONS