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The Value of Debit Card Reward Programs
Banks offer debit card reward programs to encourage signature-based purchases that earn both the bank and the card vendor a better profit than a debit card purchase. The card holder can earn points by making purchases and setting-up direct deposits, or through other transactions. These points add up, granting the card holder access to prizes like free airline miles, gift certificates, and kitchen appliances.
The benefits of these rewards programs vary greatly. Free programs like Visa Extras might offer 5,000 points just for joining the program, but these points are worth only a fraction of a penny each. Other programs might offer free vacations, but for a number of points so large, you'll never get that free trip to Hawaii. But there are programs that reward purchases more favorably, and offer strategies to make sure you're earning points. Be sure to understand the basics of your reward program and the likelihood of you benefiting from the program before you sign up -- especially if it has a monthly or annual fee.
The Difference between Reloadable Debit Cards and Checking Accounts
Reloadable debit cards are not associated with traditional bank checking accounts, but they provide many consumers with the same functionality of a bank account. Similar to checking accounts, cardholders can pay for purchases anywhere debit cards are accepted, set up direct deposit, withdraw money from ATMs, and use their reloadable debit card account to pay bills online. Like checking accounts, most reloadable debit cards offer FDIC protection and some provide purchase protection. What separates reloadable debit cards from checking accounts is reloadable debit cards don’t require a credit check and cardholders can only spend up to the value placed on their cards; overdraft protection isn’t an option. Some reloadable debit cards also come with constraints that checking accounts don’t possess like monthly fees that cannot be waived, reloading fees, and spending limits.
Tips About Checking Accounts and Reloadable Debit Cards
Checking accounts come in all shapes and sizes, but banks and credit unions know that seniors and students use their accounts in distinct ways. Many offer student and senior checking accounts to appeal to these consumers, offering features that appeal to these groups like an "oops" for overdrafting (for students) and free checking printing (for seniors). Read more...
For many consumers, their checking account is the center of their financial existence because it’s where paychecks are deposited, bills are paid and spending money is stored. Because there is so many transactions flowing in and out of these accounts, it’s crucial to close your checking account properly in order to avoid unwanted blunders. Read on...
Earning interest on your checking account nowadays is, well, difficult. And when you do, it's not easy get an interest rate that's very impressive. If you're looking for ways to earn money, your time may be better spent looking at savings accounts, money market accounts, or more long term investments like IRAs, bonds, or mutual funds. Read more...