Last June I switched my primary checking account from ING Direct to PerkStreet Financial. PerkStreet offered 2% cashback on all purchases, so I figured I would give them a try. I am very glad I did.
To date, we have have received $640 cash back in Visa gift cards since signing up in June of last year. So I estimate that we will earn $750 for the year. I am not someone who will switch bank accounts just to get a $25 gift card, but getting $750/year is well worth the small investment of time it took to switch accounts.
How I got it to work best for me
The two downsides I see with the PerkStreet account is that they have a $4.50/month inactivity fee and they have a limit on how much money you can transfer into the account.
The Inactivity Fee
If you use the card just one time each month, you will never pay this fee. Since it is our primary card, we have never (and never will) pay this fee.
I am not sure why they have a limit on transferring money in – perhaps to prevent people from taking advantage of the perks. But either way, I just direct deposit my paycheck into the account and I haven’t thought about it since.
2% Cash Back
PerkStreet offers 2% cash back for the first 3 months and then 1% after that. However if you maintain a $5000 balance in the account they continue giving 2% cash back. I just transferred a portion of my emergency fund over to the account to help us maintain the required balance and we have gotten 2% ever since. With savings rates so low, earning an extra 1% cash back is more beneficial than having that money in a savings account.
I have recently been asked about whether or not I still like the PerkStreet account and whether or not still recommend it. That is a pretty easy answer.
I have to say I get pitched a ton of financial-products, accounts, tools, etc from running a personal finance site, but the PerkStreet cash back debit card has been, hands down, the best financial product I have seen since I started this site. There are some great products being created every day, but I rarely find something that makes me $750/year with next to no effort.