PerkStreet Financial has a new promotion for its online checking account. New customers get 6 months of 2% cash back on their non-PIN debit card purchases. Here's an overview of the requirements:
- Open an account online with at least $25
- The 6 month period will begin once your account has been opened
- Must be non-PIN debit card purchases (credit or signature option)
- After the 6 month period, you'll earn 1% cash back on all non-PIN debit card purchases
- If you choose to receive free music or coffee instead of cash back, you'll still earn double for your first 6 months
- Offer expires April 30th, 2010 (extended to June 6, 2010)
- Excludes existing customers, previous customers who had accounts in last 12 months and new customers who have a household member with a Perkstreet account
PerkStreet had offered a $50 sign-up bonus last year (and $100 for a little while). You'll have to make at least $5K in purchases in 6 months for this new offer to be sweeter than the $50 bonus from last year.
Some other details about this online checking account include:
- $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
- 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).
Why choose PerkStreet over a reward checking account?
Reward checking accounts reward debit card use with high interest rates. PerkStreet rewards debit card use with cash back, similar to credit card reward programs. If your average balance is only $3K, a 4.00% yield will only give you about $120 of interest during the year. With 1% cash back, you'll earn more if you make at least $12K in purchases during the year (excluding the effect of taxes).
For those who prefer credit cards, it's hard to compete with credit cards from PenFed, Charles Schwab and Fidelity. For those who prefer debit cards, PerkStreet's cash back debit card is pretty unique.
Why reward for debit card use?
As I mentioned in January Visa and banks profit from non-PIN debit card use from interchange fees charged on merchants. You can say that this cost just gets passed to the consumer. At least with these reward programs, we can get some of that back.