About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Ally Bank's New Debit Card Cash Back Program: Ally Perks


Ally Bank launched four new products last weekend. I did a quick overview of the Ally changes on Sunday. During this week I've been doing in-depth reviews for each of the four new products. Today will be the last of these reviews, and it will focus on the Ally Perks Program.

The Ally Perks program requires that you have Ally Bank's Interest Checking account and its debit card. When you make qualifying purchases using the debit card, Ally will reward you with money back (deposited to your account). The "qualifying purchases" are based on offers they list when you log into your account.

Details of the program are listed at the Ally Perks page. However, they don't list any examples. A reader commented about the offers that he was seeing when he logged in:

I'm seeing the following Ally Perks in my account: $5 back on $50 purchase at Target.com, $5 back on $40 purchase at Shoes.com, $5 back on $35 purchase at Petsmart.com, $5 back on $25 purchase at bestbuy.com, $1 back on $2 purchase on iTunes... And quite a few more.

It's important to note that this is not a generic cash back reward program in which you earn a certain percentage cash back on all purchases. The cash back is only for the listed offers with specific retailers and for specific purchase amounts.

Other Banks with Similar Programs

This kind of rewards program reminds me of the SmartyPig Cash Boost. In that program, you can redeem your savings goal into a discounted retail gift card.

Other similar programs include FNBO Direct's My Deals, Bank of America's Add It Up and Sallie Mae Bank's UPromise.

All of these programs allow you to get discounts for purchases at certain retailers.

Where the Cash Back Money Comes From

It appears that the cash back from Ally Perks and these other programs come from retailer agreements. These programs are designed to bring more money and new customers to the stores. In exchange, the stores provide a discount.

The cash back doesn't appear to come from the debit card interchange fees which are scheduled to be capped soon by the new Federal Reserve regulation. This makes sense since Ally, as a large bank, will definitely be hit by the cap when the regulation takes effect.

Value of the Program

As you can see by some of the examples above, there are significant cash back opportunities. If you already have Ally's checking account, I don't see an issue with keeping an eye on the offers and making use of those offers that are good deals for you. Since the offers require spending a certain amount, they could encourage you to spend more. Also, when you use your Ally debit card, you'll miss out on credit card cash back opportunities and it will be harder to meet your monthly reward checking requirements.

Related Pages: Ally Bank, checking account

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  |     |   Comment #1
Pretty much every company has something similar.

Discover, Chase, Allstate, Geico and of course the dedicted rebate sites like Mr Rebates, Ebates and Big Crumbs.

Ally is just harder to understand.

Discover is cool for buying Groupons with. 15% cashback and it was 20% for awhile there.

  |     |   Comment #2
Ally Perks is easy to see and use. I got my money back immediately.
  |     |   Comment #3
You have to be willing to use your debit card for online purchases (since most of the offers are for .com sites). No thanks. 
  |     |   Comment #4
I like to use my USAA debit card to shop from the site's shopping portal. Not only do I get points from the purchase itself, but I also receive bonus points. These two together adds up quickly, which I can then turn into cash back rewards. That goes straight to my savings account.

I also accumulate points from everyday purchases at all manner of stores and gas stations. I'm a big fan of Mr. Rebates as well. Very, very easy to navigate and understand how it works....along with so many different websites to shop from....
  |     |   Comment #5
do you know to use the debit card as debit with PIN, or credit to get the ally perk cash back? thanks
  |     |   Comment #6
Well I did like the perks program, but Ally just killed it as of August 19 2013.  too bad,  I liked it. 
  |     |   Comment #8
No wonder I couldn't find it anymore, that's a bummer.

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