PerkStreet Debit Card: No Fee, Earn 2% Cash Back

These days, free checking accounts are getting harder and harder to find, thanks to the new government policies introduced in the past couple of years. Not too long ago, everybody seemed to take a free checking account for granted. It doesnt’ matter how big or small the account it, the account owner usually enjoyed the freedom of using the account for his or her everyday needs without thinking about maintaining a minimum account or facing a penalty (bank fee that is). But with new rules aimed at put the Wall Street, which is largely considered to be responsible for the current recession, under more regulations, banks, large and small, have become to introduce new fees to some of the products that have been fee-free until recently to make up the lost revenue. Among them, monthly account maintenance fees have been added to free checking accounts unless a certain amount of daily balance has been maintained. Early this month, Bank of American and Citibank have introduced monthly fees in debit cards, just as the use of debit cards has surged since the start of the financial crisis nearly four years ago.

Clearly, what we have seen from these developments is that whenever a new law with the intention to protect consumer is enacted, whether it is the law that prohibits credit card issuers from arbitrarily increasing interest rates or the law that sets the upper limit on how much banks can charge merchants when customers use debit cards to make purchases, it’s the consumer who actually end up getting hurt. Because banks simply won’t let the lost revenue disappear. Instead, they will find creative ways, such as adding fees, to recoup the losses.

PerkStree 2% cash backIf you are frustrated by these new bank fees, there are alternatives to those big banks. One of them is PerkStreet Financial, which offers both free checking account and free debit card. But that’s not all. What’s even more appealing is that they actually pay you to use the debit card. Pretty nice, isn’t it?

With PerkStreet Debit Card Rewards Program, you can get 2% on-going cash back on all non-PIN based transactions as long as you maintain at least $5,000 in the checking account. The minimum may seem to be high as compare to other checking accounts (it doesn’t make sense to compare PerkStreet’s checking account with other checking accounts that require you to maintain a level of daily balance or face monthly fee), but you get the benefits from using the debit card for purchases. If the minimum balance requirement is not met, don’t worry, you will won’t pay for a monthly fee and will continue to earn cash back, but the cash back reduces to 1% if the balance remains below $5,000. In addition, PerkStreet is also offering 5% cash back for purchases in its PowerPerks categories and retailers (the amount you can earn at the 5% cash back bonus rate is limited to $250 per household annually, but there’s no limit on the total amount of cash back you can earn).

So, are you interested in PerkStreet Checking and Debit Card Rewards Program? Do you think this is a decent offer? According to PerkStreet, this offer “lets families save up to $600 a year without cutting back on their spending.” To learn more about PerkStreet and it’s checking and debit card rewards program, check out my previous PerkStreet review post for details.


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4 Responses to “PerkStreet Debit Card: No Fee, Earn 2% Cash Back”

  1. Laurie McLachlan |  Jun 24, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I work for PerkStreet and wanted to let you’ll get 2% cash back on every non-PIN purchase you make on days where your balance is $5,000 or more. That offer does not expire six months after your account is opened.

    You won’t find a bank that gives you more debit card rewards or more free ATMs than PerkStreet.

    Laurie McLachlan

    • Sun |  Jun 24, 2010 at 8:30 pm

      Thanks Laurie for the information. The post has been updated.

  2. AV |  Aug 09, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    There are several problems with this bank, so I would warn potential customers to be aware of the fine print. Although PerkStreet’s website has the appearance of being clear about their policies, I found that not to be the case. These “fine print” policies seem designed to (1) make it difficult to move money out of the account, and (2) to limit the cashback that you can earn. Below are examples.

    (1) They have a limit of $1500 on incoming online transfers in an entire *month*! They don’t tell you about this anywhere except when you actually try to move money into your account. When I called them about it, they said that they have this restriction for new customers and I was still in my first month. After a couple more calls, I realized that they will increase this limit to $2500 after six months.

    Stated reason: Security.
    Suspected motive: To limit the amount of money you can spend to get cashback.

    (2) They have a limit of $500 ***per month*** on outgoing online transfers. So, say you move $5000 into your account to get 2% cashback. You are stuck with that money with them for a long time (unless you adopt a slower paper check route).

    (3) They have a limit of $1500 on daily expenses and explicitly say on their website that it can be waived simply by making a phone call. I had to book two one-way international flight tickets that cost a total of over $1500. I booked these and called them to waive the limit. They refused to do so because I was still in my first month. There is no notice about waivers not being allowed in the first month anywhere. As a result, I have to now spend much more money re-booking that ticket just because PerkStreet does not allow me to spend my own money.

    >>Stated reason: Security for new customers. They claim that all banks have spending limits on debit cards. Really? Bank of America did not.
    >>Suspected motive: Limiting spending => limiting cashback.

    (4) When I tried to circumvent the limitation in (1) above to move more money into my account using FedEx, there was another surprise! The first FedEx check takes not 1 day as stated, but about 9 days for some reason. Again, some vague security reason that is incomprehensible to rational beings is given as an explanation.

    Bottomline: It is not easy to get much cashback because of their restrictive policies on what you can do with your money. And they make it harder to move money out of the account while not giving any interest on it. As for the 5% cashback, they are on such specific and tiny items that I have never been able to get 5% cashback so far.

  3. Robert |  Nov 05, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Wouldnt it be wiser to just have your money sit now in an online savings account earning around 0.8% and use a cashback, miles, or points reward credit card than this Perkstreet debit card checkin account?? Plus, instead of Perkstreet, my money is better at a bank where I can go to any ATM I please, including bankofamerica, wellsfargo, and chase, and get the ATM fees surcharges reimbursed. Perkstreet doesnt offer that, nor do they offer monthly interest.