When 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:
Published or updated March 22, 2012.