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New Debit Card Cash Back Policy at PerkStreet Financial


PerkStreet Financial

PerkStreet Financial has announced a change to their debit card rewards program. Their standard cash back used to be 1% on all non-PIN purchases. It can now be 2%. However, there's an extra requirement: It's only for days where your checking account balance is $5,000 or more. If you have a smaller balance for those days when you make a non-PIN purchase, the cash back will be 1%. The downside with maintaining a $5,000 balance in their account is that it earns no interest.

In addition to the 2% cash back, you'll get up to 5% cash back when you make non-PIN purchases in popular categories that change monthly.

Below is a summary of the features of the PerkStreet Financial checking account:

  • $4.50 monthly fee can be avoided by using the account (debit card usage, writing a check that clears the account, using Online Bill Pay, initiating a withdrawal or making a deposit to the account)
  • No interest
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • First book of checks is free (updated 10/6/2010)
  • No fees for ATMs within the STARsf network ($2 fee for other ATMs plus any fee the ATM owners may charge)
  • ACH bank-to-bank transfer service
  • Free deposits at 3,400 UPS and Mailboxes Etc locations

According to the Perkstreet Financial's website, banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank which is a FDIC member. The Bancorp Bank has a been a FDIC member since 2000 (FDIC Certificate # 35444)

Potential Issues

Perkstreet Financial's checking account will mostly appeal to those who prefer debit cards over credit cards. If you prefer a credit card, you would probably do better with Alliant Credit Union's 1.50% APY High Rate Checking combined with PenFed's Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card. You may also do better with a reward checking account if you don't mind the monthly requirements.

Another future issue will be the effects of the new financial regulation that may soon be passed by Congress. According to this CNN article

The financial reform bill gives the Federal Reserve authority to cap the fees and requires that they be reasonable and proportional to the actual cost incurred. Analysts expect that change to knock fees down to less than half of their current rates.

It should be noted that PerkStreet Financial's bank, The Bancorp Bank, is under $10 billion in assets. So it should be exempt from the cap. However, small banks and credit unions believe they will still be impacted.

  Tags: PerkStreet Financial, checking account

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Comment #1 by GaelicWench/Jo (anonymous) posted on
There are just way too many hoops here for what? I don't believe in parking $5k in a checking account that offers no interest.I see it as a way for the bank itself to earn interest.

I've applied at Erie GE FCU, since I qualify automatically because of the county I live in. All I have to do is make 12 non-pin purchases, which I do regardless of which account I use. But that's basically it. Yes, I have to keep a minimum of $500 parked in the account, but that won't be showing up in my balance. That money will be earning 5.12%. And no, I am not one of the people who buys 12 individual packs of gum to "meet" the requirement. I make actual purchases by buying groceries, a tank of gas, etc.