If have been looking for an internet checking account and if you prefer debit cards over credit cards, this week is a good time to consider Perkstreet Financial. If you open its checking account before the end of December 25, 2011, you can qualify for a $25 cash bonus. The account must be funded with at least $25, and you must use your debit card to make 3 purchases within 30 days of opening your account. It's not a big bonus, but if you had been considering Perkstreet Financial before, it's an extra little reason to consider them again.
In October I reviewed why Perkstreet Financial is a better deal these days when interest rates are so low. To understand why this is the case, it's important to review the perks of using your Perkstreet Financial debit card:
- 5% cash back (limit $250/yr) when you shop at stores included in categories that change monthly
- 2% cash back everywhere for the days your checking account balance is at least $5,000 (or first 3 months)
- 1% cash back for all other cases
Purchases must be signature-based (non-PIN) to qualify for the rewards. The cash back rewards come in the form of gift cards. Some of the selections include MasterCard, Target and Amazon.com.
Comparing Perkstreet Financial to Other Alternatives
The cost of getting 2% cash back is maintaining at least $5,000 in the Perkstreet checking account that earns no interest. But with interest rates so low these days, that cost is going down. In October I reviewed how Perkstreet compares with other debit card options. You can still earn 1.10% APY in a regular checking account at Alliant Credit Union (as of 12/19/2011). Also, there are still reward checking accounts that pay 3.00% APY and 4.00% APY for balances up to $25K. Debit card usage allows these reward checking accounts to be able to pay such high interest rates.
If you prefer credit cards for security reasons, you'll probably want to stick with checking accounts like at Alliant and a good cash-back credit card.
Perkstreet Financial Checking Features
Perkstreet Financial's checking accounts do have several nice features such as free ATM usage and many easy ways for making deposits. One unique deposit feature that I haven't found at other internet banks is a free way to make cash deposits. Perkstreet Financial customers can deposit cash free using MoneyGram Express Payment. According to Perkstreet there are "18,000 locations nationwide, including Wal-Mart stores." I have more details about Perkstreet Financial checking account features in my October Perkstreet Financial checking review.
PerkStreet Financial Overview
According to the PerkStreet Financial's website, banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank which is a FDIC member. The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 12.60% (above average) based on September 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of The Bancorp Bank for more details. The Bancorp Bank has a been a FDIC member since 2000 (FDIC Certificate # 35444).