Union Bank has a checking account promotion in which you can earn 3% cash back on eligible debit card purchases. Here are the basic requirements:
- Open a new consumer checking account with a $100 minimum by 1/31/2011
- Maximum cash back is $500
- Debit card purchases must be made by 4/30/2011
The promotion is listed at unionbank.com/rewardthree. The offer's small print describes what counts as eligible purchases:
Purchases returned do not qualify. The following count as "eligible debit card purchases:" purchases you sign for, PayPass™ tap purchases, purchases made on the Internet, by phone, or by mail-order, and small-dollar purchases that do not require a signature. Determination of eligible purchases is at the sole discretion of Union Bank.
Here is some additional important small print:
Cash Back will be deposited into the cardholder's primary linked checking account by May 31, 2011, which must be active and in good standing. Cannot be combined with other checking offers. Current Union Bank checking customers are ineligible. Cash Back may require a Form 1099-MISC be sent for tax purposes.
Note that the cash back may be reported on your 1099. That would be a significant downside compared to credit card cash back bonuses which aren't reported on 1099s.
There's an online application, and according to the customer service rep, accounts can be opened in any state. The free checking account qualifies for this promotion. I was told that a hard credit inquiry was possible if you apply online or by phone, but typically, only a ChexSystem verification is used.
Other Debit Card Rewards
If you want a debit card cash back program that's not just a temporary promotion, PerkStreet Financial is a good choice. With PerkStreet Financial's checking account, you can get up to 2% cash back. They also have a new-account promotion (see review).
Future of Debit Card Rewards
This might be the last year of debit card rewards if the Fed implements its proposed rules that limit interchange fees. The new rules are suppose to only affect banks with assets over $10 billion. That would definitely affect Union Bank which has $79 billion in assets. It's questionable how much effect will occur for banks with assets under $10 billion. PerkStreet's parent bank is Bancorp Bank which has $2.66 billion in assets.
Union Bank Overview
Union Bank is a large regional bank that's based in San Francisco, California with over 400 branches in California, Washington and Oregon. Its overall health score at DepositAccounts.com is 4 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 16.18% (excellent) based on September 2010 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Union Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1979 (FDIC Certificate # 22826).
Other Bank Bonuses
To find other bonus deals at other banks, please refer to the bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus blog posts. There are also additional bonuses listed in the checking account deals forum.