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6 ways to choose the right debit card rewards program

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Rewards on debit cards have become more common, but complex in their array of choices. These six tips will help you in choosing and managing a debit card reward program that's right for you.

  1. Do the math. Understand that if it's rewards you're after, you can probably rack up awards more quickly with a credit card. But if you prefer using debit, be sure you understand how much you need to spend to earn a reward. Also watch for limits on rewards.
  2. Check your own bank first. Because switching banks can be time-consuming, look first at your bank's debit program to see if it fits your needs and how it compares to other programs.
  3. Be wary of fees. Fees can quickly eat into the value of debit rewards.
  4. Look at credit unions. Credit unions in your area often have very competitive debit card programs.
  5. Signature or PIN? Make sure you understand whether your reward program requires you to sign for purchases. Some banks encourage signature transactions, which make more money for the banks.
  6. Consider an additional account. Instead of thinking of a debit card as an all-or-nothing proposition, think about using a debit account for particular kinds of purchases, such as grocery shopping. You can often get the full advantages of debit rewards programs without putting all your purchases on that card.

 

See related: Debit rewards program grow in size, complexity

Published: May 4, 2010


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