Perkstreet Checking: Best Bank If You Prefer Debit Cards Over Credit Cards

PerkStreet Financial(SM) MasterCard® Debit CardRegular readers will know that I like using credit cards for the cashback or travel rewards, even though I never carry a balance from month to month or pay any interest. However, I also accept that many people prefer debit cards as they suck money straight out of your checking account. If that sounds like like you, you’re not alone – when it comes to a charge card purchase, nationally it’s just as likely to be a debit card as a credit card. I get it – debit cards more psychologically similar to spending cash and there is no change of racking up a balance (although there are overdraft fees).

The best way to describe Perkstreet Financial is that it’s the best checking account if you don’t like using credit cards. They offer the best cashback rewards on debit cards by far:

  • 1% cash back on all non-PIN debit card purchases. The cash back you can earn on these purchases is unlimited.
  • 2% cash back at popular retail stores. On online purchases at: Amazon.com®, iTunes®, Target.com, Apple.com, Walmart.com and Bestbuy.com, on in-store purchases, when you have a Current Account Balance of $5,000 or more at: Walmart, Target®, Best Buy® & Apple® stores, and when you and a friend use your cards at the same restaurant, bar or coffee shop within 60 minutes of each other.
  • 5% cash back at a rotating set of retailers. For October 2012, they are The Cheesecake Factory®, Pottery Barn®, Pottery Barn Kids®, PotteryBarn.com, Ace Hardware®, AceHardware.com.
  • PowerPerks 2.0 with deals updated every week. With no yearly limits.

As long as you have some sort of activity each month (billpay, deposit, withdrawal, cleared check, debit card purchase) then there is no monthly fee. Some other improvements they’ve made are that you can deposit checks sent overnight for free at UPS Stores or Mailbox Etc. (or via free prepaid envelopes). They don’t offer ATM rebates like some other places like my account at Ally Checking, but they do offer 42,000 free ATMs across the country; use their ATM locator to see if there are convenient ones to you.

Right now, you can get an extra $25 bonus cash back when you apply for an account online by December 25th, fund with $25 or more, and use your card at least 3 times in the first month. (Ironically, last time I started an application they let me fund with with a credit card up to $500 and promised it would go through as a purchase and not a cash advance.) – This promo is now expired.

Comments

  1. Did you call to open the account to be allowed to withdraw funds from Credit card?

  2. “last time I started an application they let me fund with with a credit card up to $500 and promised it would go through as a purchase and not a cash advance”

    Sounds like you could double up on rewards. Get cashback or rewards using your credit card to fund and then cashback again using this debit card.

    Has anyone tried this?

  3. > Ironically, last time I started an application they let me fund with with a credit card up to $500

    I used my Starwood AmEx and got a free 500 points this way. :)

    You have to remember that over 50% of credit card holders in the USA report carrying a balance. I read recently, the banks state somewhere closer to 74%. So, what does this mean? If you play the credit card game due to rewards, you may end up paying interest to the banks.

    With a debit card, you can continue to earn rewards but never spend beyond your means. Doesn’t that give you the peace of mind? I know my wife and I have struggled with keeping to a budget, but when you set up a system to force yourself to live within your means, you will adjust. We have felt the loss of being able to spend freely, but it is a loss, that will infinitely pay us back as we learn this new lifestyle!

  4. I have PerkStreet and love the 2% cash back! I’m on the 3 month trial now, and I’m not sure I’ll stick with them since I’m pretty loyal to USAA, too.

  5. I am like you in that I prefer the credit card points, so I tend to use credit over debit for personal spending. I have, however, heard about studies that show consumers do less overall spending if they use a debit card as the primary spending tool.

    This makes sense when you consider a consumer can not spend more than what he has in his account that is linked to the debit card.

  6. I’m just like you, Jonathan, I love using my credit cards, online savings account, online Ally checking account, and sometimes the needs I need for a brick-mortar bank checking account. Plus, I like the checking accounts that offer free ATM reimbursements; because there are many times for me that I need cash and can’t partaway to find the ATM that is free for em. Dont forget credit cards allow a floating period; you charge today in December, you get your bill in early January, and you pay in-full on due date..sometimes early February. This allows you to have your money in your online savings or online checking or money market account earn an extra 3-4 weeks of interest, currently averaging 0.85% interest (for online savings/money market/checking accounts.) Plus, most credit cards on this site give more than 1%; sometimes upto 5%. These big banks offer much greater rewards for us who are financially responsible with credit; there’s the 1.25% card, the 1% and 0.5% in a year card, the 3-2-1% for gas, supermarkets, and everything card, the 2% card, the 1-3% card, the 1% and 5% rotating quarterly general categories cards. Jonathan, any word when Perkstreet will offer $50 bonus or $100 bonus like they did back in in November 2009 or in 2010?

  7. In the fees section of their website: ” Should you transfer money from a credit card line into your checking account, the card company charges us a fee that we pass on to you. 2.5% of the loaded funds”

    this would imply you cannot transfer money over for free, even though others claim they have. Has anyone done this recently?

  8. Funding a checking account with a credit card once was not costly. But lately they have been transferring fees over to the customer. I also ran into more than one bank (HSBC and an RSB subsidiary) where I had to use the ATM to withdraw cash because they could not do it at the teller. That required an ATM fee as well.

  9. @Kevin
    Perkstreet allows a one time transfer of funds via a credit card without incurring fees. After the first transfer you must transfer money via ACH from another bank account or send them a check to avoid the fee.

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