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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
Mobile Check Deposit is an application that allows you to take pictures of checks with your smartphone or tablet and deposit the funds into your bank accounts. If your bank offers mobile check deposit, you can avoid visiting a branch to deposit checks. Read more...
Over time, customers of banks and members of credit unions have found the benefits of online banking to be great, and financial institutions have responded by including features beyond the basics like email alerts and activity download. Read more...
An overdraft occurs when you make a purchase or transaction that takes your account into a negative balance. You may overdraft when you write a check, make a debit card purchase, or commit any transaction that pulls too much money from your account. You can avoid this trouble altogether by keeping track of your account's balance in a ledger or checking your balance frequently through online or mobile banking. But dire situations might require you to overdraft sometime, so it's good for all account holders to understand the overdraft policies. Read more...