Update on My 2% CashBack Debit Card

cash back debit card from PerkStreet

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.

Transfer Limit

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

What about you? Have you tried them yet? What do you think?

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  1. TW

    Do you have to keep a a $5000 balance in checking or can it also be in savings?

    • Bob

      TW, I am not sure. I have it in checking right now, and I think it does need to be in checking, but I am not positive. I will look into it…

  2. Adam

    This is a great option for people starting to save. If you have already created a decent savings account and have low spending you may want to look into banks that offer reward checking. In my area there a about 10 different banks that offer from 3-4% on your checking account balance if you do at least 12 transactions in your account each month. Depending how much you spend this may be a better option than getting rewards back.

  3. Jenna Walker


    Hi there,
    My name is Jenna and I work at PerkStreet Financial. I wanted to follow up with you on your question. Currently, we only have a checking account, thus the balance must be kept in the checking account. However, we are looking to roll out a savings account this year, so stay posted!

    If you have any other questions, feel free to comment on here or email us at help @ perkstreet.com

    Thanks and have a great day,
    Jenna Walker
    PerkStreet Financial

    • Victoria

      Are the rewards in the form of cash or gift cards?

    • Bob

      Victoria, they are in Mastercard gift cards that can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted.

  4. Yvonne C. Hyde

    This sounds like a good idea. The only downside for me is that I have so many automatic withdrawals from my present checking account, so it will be quite a job to stop them all and then set them all back up again with the new account.

  5. Miss Linda

    One of the factors you mentioned in your article about ING Direct was their robust security. Do you feel that the Perk Street institution has an equally robust security infrastructure in place? I was preparing to open an ING Direct account based upon the heightened security, however I read recently that ING Direct is in the process of selling its on-line banking business, which may impact the security infrastructure in place now.

    • Bob

      @Miss Linda
      I am not a web security expert, but ING just had a very thorough and defensive login process. Perkstreets is not quite as thorough, but any bad guy would have to know a whole lot of info about a customer in order to break in.

  6. I don’t see the transfer limit. I just got done reading the entire Perkstreet site after getting a recommendation for it from Facebook. Could you elaborate on this more? Perhaps with a link to where I can find this information. Perhaps they’ve lifted the limit since you wrote this article. Thank you.

  7. Perhaps this is what you are referring to: For fraud reasons, we limit the initial amount you can deposit to $500, though that cap increases over time as we get to know you better. From http://www.perkstreet.com/faqs-deposits.aspx. So now my question is how long will it take to get my account up to $5,000?

    • Bob

      I just use direct deposit to fund my perkstreet account and I have never had any issues. If you are going to go the “Transfer” route I would just give them a call and find out – we can both speculate, but they have the real answers and their customer service team has been pretty helpful to me thus far… Here is their number – 866-792-2834

  8. Pete

    Just an FYI. I found out that you can transfer any amount from another bank to Perkstreet. You need to set it up from the other banks site and initiate the transfer from there. Hope this helps. Love your site!