Compare checking accounts and reloadable debit cards from Ames, IA banks and credit unions for free
Mobile banking takes a lot of the features of online banking and brings them to your cell or smart phone. Depending on who you bank with, mobile banking might save you a trip to a bank branch. All of the mobile banking features apply to your checking account, but some mobile banking apps allow access to your savings accounts and credit card balances as well. Read more...
Second Chance checking accounts are designed for people who are not allowed to open normal checking accounts due to past banking behavior or bad credit. The reasons you may be disallowed vary, but once you build a bad history, you're reported agencies or networks like Chexsystem. When you request to open an account, banks and credit unions check these databases to see if you have a bad record. Read more...
Most people comfortably use debit cards nowadays, but the benefits they offer are not always clear. Here's a breakdown of how debit cards work and the rewards programs frequently offered with them. Read more...
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.
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