Most of us are aware of the various credit cards out there that provide rewards for using them. Some provide cash back, others offer airline miles or points to purchase gifts from a catalog. These can be great tools for those who use the credit cards to make purchases and then immediately pay off the balance every month, but many banks are now offering another way to earn the same rewards without even using a credit card. Many banks now offer rewards on just your ATM/Debit card, which in many cases people use more frequently than credit cards which would allow an even faster accumulation of points without worrying about paying a credit card bill every month.
Some banks that offer these products:
Of course these are just a few, many regional banks are also rolling out similar features for their debit cards. We currently use Chase and have the Leisure Rewards debit card and it has been fantastic. We have many bills that are automatically deducted from our checking account every month anyway, so by setting up automatic payment via the debit card we are still paying directly through the checking account, but earning rewards while doing so. So things such as car payments, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, even the mortgage can be paid via the card and that can add up to a lot of points every month simply by paying things through the debit card as opposed to ACH transfer. Combine those payments with your everyday expenses from gas, groceries, and utility bills and you can earn substantial points without ever using a credit card.
Of course, not all online payment systems allow for debit card transactions, so your actual mileage may vary. But, if you already use a debit card anyway, you should check to see if your financial institution offers any debit reward cards. You could be leaving money or rewards on the table.
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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.