June 24 update: The promotional code listed below is no longer available. You can now earn a $25 bonus using the promotional code 25WO10 rather than the $50 bonus previously mentioned here.
It’s actually $71 after expenses, as you’ll see below. ShareBuilder is still running the $50 promotion, but now there’s a way to get $75 from opening a new ShareBuilder account, using the same promotion code. Here are the details, from FatWallet.
Step 1. Sign up for ebates.com and take the immediate $5 sign-up bonus.
Step 2. While logged into ebates, click on the ShareBuilder link (or here), which will qualify you for a $20 cash back bonus through ebates.com for opening an account with ShareBuilder. You must be signed into ebates for this to work.
Step 3. Fill out the ShareBuilder application and use the promotion code ENTERTAIN50. Note: This code is no longer available. Use 25WO10 to earn $25 rather than $50.
Step 4. Fund your account. I chose a telecommunications sector ETF, IYZ (iShares Dow Jones US Telecom). There is a $4 fee for delayed investments.
Step 5. When your account is funded, you’ll receive an email notifying you your $50 bonus will be credited to your ShareBuilder account in a few weeks.
Step 6. You will receive $20 in your ebates account. Here’s the net profit from this strategy: $5 ebates opening bonus + $50 ShareBuilder bonus + $20 ebates affiliate bonus – $4 transaction fee = $71.
The only concern with ShareBuilder is that it’s expensive to sell your investment. To counteract that, consider investing for the long term with ShareBuilder. There are no inactivity fees, so you can let the money sit and grow or invest automatically.
Important reminder. If you open an account with ebates, you must make a purchase, such as the ShareBuilder deal, in order to receive the additional bonus.
Important note. If you open multiple accounts with different promotion codes, don’t open too many. ShareBuilder will lock you out of future bonuses and restrict future trading in all but your first account if they deem you’ve opened too many new accounts, but they won’t take away any bonus money you’ve received up to that point.
Updated November 11, 2016 and originally published July 15, 2006.