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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
Free and basic checking accounts share many of the same qualities. Free checking accounts are really just basic checking accounts that do not charge a monthly service fee. Most free and basic accounts do not earn interest on balances and do not come with advanced account features. Read on...
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...
Most checking accounts come with free debit cards. These cards allow you to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs. These ATMs ("Automatic Teller Machines") allow you to check your balance, withdraw and deposit money, and transfer money between your accounts. Read more...