The Best Cash Back Debit Card

PerkStreet Financial Checking AccountWhen you think of cash back cards, you probably think of credit cards, not debit cards. With the interchange fees that merchants pay to credit card issuers, the card companies can afford to payout some of the fees in the form of cash rewards. But with debit card transactions, the same interchange fees don’t apply. But it turns out that there are a number of debit cards with rewards. We’ve used a Citi debit card for years that rewards us airline miles. Now there is a cash back debit card.

PerkStreet Financial offers one of the most rewarding online checking accounts I’ve seen in a long time. We’ll come back to the checking accout, but first let’s take a look at the PerkStreet FinancialSM Visa® Debit Card, which comes with the checking account. The PerkStreet FinancialSM Visa® Debit Card offers three rewards options:

Update: PerkStreet now offers up to 5% cash back. Check out the details here.

Coffee Perk: Earn 1% for all non-pin transactions that can be redeemed for gift cards at coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

Music Perk: Earn 1% for all non-pin transactions that can be redeemed for gifts at iTunes, Amazon, or Rhapsody.

Cash Perk: Earn 1% for all non-pin transactions that can be converted into any one of several gift cards, including Amazon, the Gap, Target, and Best Buy.


Note that the rewards are paid for non-pin transactions. When you use a debit card at a retailer, you often have the choice to use the card as a debit card (where you have to enter your PIN) or as a credit card (where you have to sign the receipt). The cash back and other rewards for the PerkStreet FinancialSM Visa® Debit Card are earned for all non-pin transactions only.

Online Rewards Checking

The online checking account at PerkStreet Financial has some solid features:

  • $50 Sign Up Bonus: New accounts receive a $50 bonus once the account has been opened for three months.
  • No Minimum Balance: It takes just $25 to open an account. After that, there are no minimum balance requirements.
  • No Monthly Fees: There are no monthly maintenance fees if you use your account.
  • No ATM Surcharge Fees: PerkStreet has 37,000 ATMS nationwide that account holders can use without a surcharge.

In addition to a nationwide network of ATMs, you’ll also find PerkStreet ATMs in various retail stores, including Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Circle K, Giant, and Costco. Finally, PerkStreet is upfront with the fees that it does charge. For example, if a customer overdraws their account, PerkStreet may cover the overdraft, but will charge $30. The key is that they clearly disclose these fees–no surprises.

Here’s a summary of what the PerkStreet online checking account offers:

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8 Responses to “The Best Cash Back Debit Card”

  1. I work for PerkStreet and wanted to mention that we also offer bonus perks. Choose the perk you want to earn (coffee, music and cash) you’ll earn the bonus automatically. Here are the details:

    Music: Earn 25% more perks for all of your non-PIN music purchases at iTunes, AmazonMP3 and Rhapsody

    Coffee: Earn 25% more perks on every non-PIN purchase at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Bruegger’s.

    Cash Back: Earn 1.25% cash back on all non-PIN purchases you make on your birthday.

    • Miles may be better than points, but why wouldn’t you just take the case offered by a card like PerkStreet? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always preferred cash over points or miles, whether its a debit card or a credit card.

  2. If you keep $5,000 in your Perkstreet checking account, you get TWO percent cash back on all purchases, not 1%.

    You have the option to get CASH or gift cards for Starbucks, Amazon, Target, and iTunes. We choose cash.

    We are making about $2,500 per month in purchases with our Perkstreet debit card. That includes paying our cell phone bill, utility bill, and car insurance. That effectively gives us a 2% discount on those big recurring monthly and annnual expenses.

    We’re on track to make $30 k in purchases with our Perkstreet card, resulting in SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS cash back this year. All on things we would pay/buy anyway.


    And unlike credit cards, the debit card doesn’t let us spend money that we haven’t yet earned. Debt causes stress, and is a common source of marital discord. Debt limits your options in life on where to work, where to live, whether to have one spouse stay home with the children, etc. Deeply indebted people can’t give much help to those who truly need it, either.

    Dave Ramsey is right: debt is not a tool, it is a curse. Whether it’s Perkstreet or some other debit card, we are convinced from experience that cash and debit cards are far superior to credit.

  3. thegooch

    Its not really cash back unless its truly liquid as in you can put it in your wallet and fo whatever you want to with it. Perkstreet limits what you can do with the funds, so it more like Gift Cards Back than ‘cash back’ .

    If I can put the money ( in a physical sense) as dollar bills in my wallet , then its not cash back. That doesn’t make perk street gift cards worthless, but they aren’t cash.

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