When most consumers think about earning rewards on purchases, a heavy focused is placed on credit card points, miles and cash back. While rewards credit cards can be a smart method to boost the power of each dollar spent, charging every day purchases, monthly expenses or travel costs is not always appropriate or comfortable for some individuals. Utilizing a debit card that carries a reward program is a sound alternative.
Debit cards are linked directly to a checking account, and as such only allow spending up to the available balance. There are no credit limits, interest rates on balances carried forward, and typically no substantial transaction fees. Using a debit card for purchases makes it far easier to manage total spending, especially for those who are concerned about having a higher cash outflow than what is earned each month.
The majority of debit card rewards programs work differently than credit card points or miles – some card holders have the ability to make purchases of specific products at a discount, while others earn rewards for making any purchase with the debit card enrolled. However, because there are no interest charges and generally no annual or transaction-based fees with debit cards, finding one with a truly beneficial rewards program is challenging. But they do exist! Let’s take a look at the top debit cards that offer card members rewards on purchases.
TD Bank Visa Debit Card
Banking customers with TD Bank have the opportunity to utilize a debit card linked to a TD Bank checking account to earn special access to discounts on products and services. As with any other debit card, TD Bank Visa Debit Card holders use the card to make purchases at retailers or online up to the amount available in their TD Bank checking account. The rewards program offers extra perks in that special discounts are made available exclusively to debt card holders immediately at the time of purchase.
The rewards program through the TD Bank Visa Debit card do not require enrollment, and there are no points or miles to keep track of. Additionally, there are no maintenance fees assessed on the debit card. Instead of accumulating points or miles, card members receive discounts like 10% off or room upgrades on a hotel stay, 10% – 25% off select retailers, or $10 off your next purchase with a specific brand. To “redeem” rewards, TD Bank Visa Debit card must visit the online shop that houses all the available deals, and must purchase through the site to receive the discount. While the rewards program is not all that attractive for individuals seeking out cash back or travel miles, it does offer some valuable discounts from time to time.
Bank of America BankAmeri Deals
Bank of America offers a slew of debit card options for its banking customers, some which carry the ability to cash in on rewards. Eligible debit cards are those linked to a Bank of America checking account that are also enrolled in online banking. Through the BankAmeri Deals program, debit card members can view specific merchant’s products or services online when they sign in to online banking, and select which items they want to buy. Cash back up to 15% is earned on purchases made through BankAmeri Deals, and credited directly to the checking account of the card member.
Any deals must be purchased with a Bank of America debit card through the online site or through mobile banking in order to earn cash back. A nice aspect of the program through Bank of America is that card members have deals that are specifically catered to their shopping habits, and the special offers change relatively often. Unfortunately, card members rarely earn up to the maximum of 15% cash back, and the deals offered are typically not at a discount.
KeyBank Debit Card
One of the debit card rewards programs that resembles a credit card rewards program is offered through KeyBank. Customers with debit cards on both the personal and business side can earn one point for every $6 spent on qualified purchases. Most in-store and online purchases made with the debit card count toward rewards, and there is no maximum limit on how much can be earned each month. As an added perk, an additional 200 bonus points can be earned each month for the first three months a card member is enrolled in the program, as long as three or more qualifying transactions are completed each month.
The KeyBank rewards program also offers a deals program similar to that provided by Bank of America. Debit card customers can view current merchant deals through their online banking or directly at the rewards redemption site. Offers must be manually added to the debit card being used, and additional points may be earned for buying a certain product or deal through the site. In addition to deals, KeyBank rewards customers have the ability to redeem accumulated points for gift cards, cash back, travel, merchandise and charitable donations. While a nice alternative to traditional rewards programs, debit card members have to accumulate a substantial number of points before anything worthwhile can be redeemed.
SunTrust Delta SkyMiles Debit Cards
The SunTrust Delta SkyMiles debit card is a strong option for those who shy away from credit cards but still want a reward program. Through the program, debit card members earn one mile per dollar spent on all PIN point of sale transactions, capped at 4,000 miles per card, per month. Additionally, two miles are earned for every dollar spent on purchases made directly through Delta, including airfare and in-flight spending. Accumulated miles with the SunTrust Delta SkyMiles debit card never expire, but there is an annual fee of $75.
As with most travel-focused rewards programs, redeeming miles earned does not offer much flexibility. The SunTrust Delta SkyMiles debit card allows card members the redeem miles for in-flight upgrades, first class seats and Delta Sky Club memberships. Miles may also be applied toward award travel or upgrades through Delta and its airline partners. The debit card option through Delta and SunTrust is available for both personal and business accounts, and is best suited for those who travel with the airline often.
While debit card rewards programs are not all that prevalent today, there are a handful that exist which provide card members the ability to cash in on spending. The majority of debit card rewards programs are limited to discounts and deals through partner merchants, while only a few offer conventional rewards points similar to credit card programs. If you’re looking for a way to get a return on spending without the need to carry a credit card, debit card rewards programs might just be the way to go.