Perkstreet FinancialSM is an online financial services company that has grown in popularity in recent years. The primary feature of PerkStreet is that they offer a Mastercard Debit card with rewards. While most credit card companies offer cash back on transactions, very few debit card programs offer rewards or cash back for using them. If you are interested in finding a way to earn money on the transactions that you make, their debit rewards definitely a checking account that you should look into.
How The Program Works
With PerkStreet Financial, you set up a checking account just like you would with any other bank. You fund the account and then they send you a debit card that is linked to the account. You can then use the debit card to make purchases as you would with any other type of card. Then, PerkStreet gives you a percentage of the purchase that you make back in rewards:
- get 2% cash back on ALL non-PIN purchases for 3 months
- after those three months are up you will receive 2% cash back on all non-PIN purchases if your average daily balance is $5000 or greater, and 1% cash back if less than $5000.
I think most people on average will have less than the $5000 in their checking account, so it’s realistic to expect the standard 1% cash back on purchases.
When you earn rewards, you can use the reward dollars to get gift cards from places like Amazon, Best Buy, or Target. You can also get a prepaid Visa gift card that you can use just like cash at any merchant that takes debit cards.
How PerkStreet Offers Cash Back
If you’re anything like me, you are most likely skeptical about how a company could offer free money for these purchases. In reality, the bank can do this because they do not have to have physical branches. With most banks, they spend a large portion of their money building branches and filling them with staff and equipment. The ongoing costs of having hundreds of branches all over the country add up quickly. Instead of spending their money on these branches, PerkStreet simply gives it back to you in rewards.
One of the primary advantages of this type of account is that you can earn money on purchases that you make anyway. I use my debit card on a regular basis for almost every purchase that I make. If I got a percentage point back on all of those purchases, the money would seriously add up over the course of a year. I’m sure many people would be in the same position.
For example, let’s say that you spend $3000 per month with your debit card. That is $30 that PerkStreet will give you back if you have less than $5000 in your account on average. While it may not seem like a lot, the average American will receive $600 cash back from PerkStreet every year, with higher cash back rewards bonuses that they do throughout the year.
Another thing that I like about PerkStreet is that they offer free check books, free online bill pay, and free ATM transactions. These are services that many banks make you pay for. Especially the checks. When you do not have to pay $20 for a book of checks, this is money that stays in your account. Most banks also will charge you $2 or $3 for an ATM fee when you need to get cash. With PerkStreet, these fees are completely eliminated.
Even though PerkStreet can help you earn additional money and save money on fees, it is not perfect. There are a few things that I do not like about the bank. For example, it is not very convenient to not have a branch to go to once in a while if you need to get something straightened out.
In order to make deposits, you have to transfer money from another bank account or mail them a check. But they do offer a few ways to get get your money into your account faster:
- free overnight check mailing at UPS Stores and Mailboxes Etc. locations.
- set up a direct deposit with your employer to have some or all of you paycheck deposited into you PerkStreet account. That’s probably the best way to get your money there so you can use it immediately.
- Free Moneygram Express cash deposits, which you can do from lots of places, including Walmart. Your money basically there instantly.
The number of transactions that you can make in a given month are limited. So, if you want to put more money into your account after reaching the limit, you have to worry about mailing a physical check to the bank. By the time the check arrives at PerkStreet and it is credited to your account, several days could have passed. If you are like me, you want your money in your account yesterday.
In order to make this account work, you will still have to keep a bank account open with a local bank that you can deposit money into. This may be inconvenient for you to have to work with multiple banks.
How you Get Rewards
You earn Perks by making Qualifying Purchases with your PerkStreet Card. “Qualifying Purchases” include:
- Purchases you sign for (purchases using your PIN code do not earn points)
- Internet purchases
- Phone and mail order purchases
- Contactless purchases (purchases made by holding your PerkStreet Card up to a secure reader instead of swiping your PerkStreet Card)
Since this is a debit card, I would assume that most in-store purchases would require you to put in your pin number, in which case it would disqualify you from earning rewards with that purchase. I think the only workaround would be to use the “credit” option at the register, so you have to sign for it, so you can earn rewards.
So should you open an account with PerkStreet Financial? If you are the type of person that likes to save money and get something back for making purchases, this is an ideal solution for you.
You will simply have to learn to work with the deposit methods that are available. If you are strapped for cash and you need to have instant access to deposits, this may not be the best option for you.