One of the things I gave up when I cut up my credit cards is credit card rewards. For me, it was well worth it, because my track history is that I haven’t always been responsible with credit cards. Now that I’ve been without credit card debt for a while, it’s possible that I could handle a credit card with rewards, but quite frankly, I’m happy being credit card-less.
RecentlyI noticed a new product on the financial market: the Perkstreet cash back debit card. Yes, that’s right. Debit card.
This is not a review, as I have not yet tried them, but I’m tempted.
PerkStreet is basically an online checking account, much like CapitalOne’s 360 Checking. It’s backed by Bancorp Bank, which is FDIC insured. Unlike INGDirect, though, it sounds like PerkStreet provides you with checks, in addition to a debit card.
The main draw to PerkStreet is the debit card. Right now they’re offering new customers 2% back for debit card purchases that are run as credit (the purchases you make when you don’t enter a PIN number). After 6 months, the cash back drops to 1%. Those are pretty decent rewards for a debit card.
Confused? Basically, when you use a debit card with the VISA logo, it can be run as debit (with a PIN) or credit (without a PIN). If run as credit, the money still comes out of your checking account; it’s not a credit card. It just means the transaction is run through the VISA network, which also gives you protection against fraud with VISA’s Zero Liability Policy. If you already have a VISA debit card, you might consider running it as credit for most transactions, so you’re protected.
You can link your Perkstreet account to your local checking account to transfer money from account to account easily. In addition, you can use the STAR ATMs around the country without incurring a fee.
The fees at PerkStreet seem to be right in line with fees from other banks. And in compliance with recent legislation, overdraft protection is optional. The one fee to be aware of, though, is the $4.50 a month inactivity fee. Basically, if you don’t do anything with your account for a month, you’ll be charged the fee. So if you open an account, make sure you’re going to use it. It takes $25 to open an account, but there are no minimum balances after that.
There are several options for getting cash back. If you just want the cash, you can choose a VISA gift card. But there are other options, including Amazon, Starbucks, and iTunes gift cards.
I’m not a cash person. I know cash envelope budgeting is generally touted as the best way to keep your budget under control, but I like the convenience of debit cards. I don’t like walking around with a lot of cash, but if I have my grocery money in an envelope at home, it’s of no use to me when I unexpectedly come across a great sale on products I need.
So here’s what I’m thinking. I could get a PerkStreet account and link it to my regular checking account. I’ll continue paying my bills with my regular bank’s online bill pay, because that wouldn’t count as a credit transaction and wouldn’t rack up any rewards points.
But I’ll move my “cash based” budgeting categories to Perkstreet: money for groceries, clothing, entertainment, etc. And I’ll just get into the habit of running my debit card as a credit card whenever I”m shopping. It seems like a good plan to help me stick to my budget and get some “perks” along the way!
Do you have any experience with PerkStreet? I’d love to hear about it, before I decide whether or not to open an account!
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
In accordance with FTC guidelines, I state that I have a financial relationship with companies mentioned in this website. This may include receiving access to free products and services for product and service reviews and giveaways.
Any references to third party products, rates, or websites are subject to change without notice. I do my best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers.