As I've been reporting, banks are trying new ways to encourage customers to use their debit cards with the credit (signature-based) option. High-yield reward checking is one way, and this mostly benefits those with larger balances ($25K or more). The larger banks have tried reward checking that rewards with cash back rather than high interest rates. M&I Bank is the latest example with their Cash Back Checking.
In addition to the cash-back features, M&I Bank is offering a $100 cash bonus for opening their Cash Back Checking Account. Offer is scheduled to last until 2/12/2010. Here's the small print of the offer:
Update 5/09/2010: The bonus has been extended to June 4, 2010. However, the bonus amount has fallen to $50.
Simply open an M&I Cash Back Checking account by February 12, 2010. To receive your $100 you must make five qualifying** purchases with your M&I Bank Check Card within the first 45 days after account opening. Your account will be reviewed 45 days after opening. The $100 cash bonus will be paid within 2 weeks of that review if the requirement above has been met. Offer applies to new accounts opened with new money not currently on deposit with M&I Bank, no exceptions. One bonus per household ever 12 months. Cannot be combined with other offers.
Note, qualifying purchases requires signature-based purchases with the debit card.
Here's the summary of the cash back features of this checking account:
- 0.25% cash back bonus based on the total amount of your net signature-based M&I Bank Check Card purchases made during the statement cycle.
- $0.25 for a deposit up to a maximum of $2 per statement cycle (8 deposits)
- $0.25 for each monthly online statement
- $0.05 for automatic payments deducted from your account (Online Bill Payment, internal M&I loan payment and ACH debit) up to a maximum of $2 per statement cycle (40 payments)
Note, high-yield reward checking accounts often require the above activity to qualify for the high yield. For those with small balances, the above cash-back features could earn you more than high interest rate.
One downside to the Cash Back Checking is the potential of a $10 monthly maintenance fee which would eliminate the benefits of the above rewards. The bank lists these three options to avoid this fee:
- making 3 transactions per statement cycle
- maintaining $1,000 minimum average daily balance in the account
- if you are under the age of 25
The offer appears to only be available where M&I Bank has branches. You need to enter your zip code if you apply online, and it'll tell you if you're not in their market area. According to their branch locator, the states where they have branches include: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Wisconsin. Most of the branches are located in Wisconsin which is where their headquarters is located.
M&I is a large regional bank with $51.6 billion in assets. It has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 1020).
Credit for this find goes to FW member buyerbware who posted it on this FW thread.