I grew tired of my brick-and mortar bank many years ago. I opened up an online account when they were first becoming mainstream. I started out with NetBank, which is now defunct. I moved on to Virtual Bank when interest rates were high and online banks were fighting for customers. Virtual Bank was one of the highest interest paying online banks for a few years, then they gave up. I moved all of my money out, but never closed the account. I thought that withdrawing my money did this but when I recently received an email about new fees, I looked into it and quickly closed my account.
This brings us to the present. While interest rates are low, banks need to find other incentives to earn your business. Per Street Financial does this with their rewards checking account. Here are some of the benefits of the PerkStreet checking account:
- FDIC Insurance up to $250,000
- Free online bill pay and banking
- No fees (as long as you use your account)
- 24/7 customer service
- Various deposit options (more on this below)
- Rewards (also more on this below)
The best feature of the PerkStreet checking account is the rewards program. You earn rewards for using your debit card as a credit card (meaning you select “credit” as opposed to entering your PIN). Here is the breakdown on earning cash back rewards:
- 1% on all non-PIN purchases
- 2% online when you shop at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Apple, and iTunes (limited to $2,500/yr)
- 2% when you shop in store at Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Apple and you have $5,000 in your account (limited to $2,500/yr)
- 2% when both you and a friend split a bill and you both use your PerkStreet debit card
- Up to 25% through PowerPerks which are rotating categories
To redeem your “Perks” you can get $20 cash back for every 2 perks you redeem or you can redeem for gift cards from leading retailers.
Deposits to your account are easy too. You can mail in checks via UPS overnight which is free for you (PerkStreet) pays the fee or you can set up transfer between your PerkStreet account and other outside bank accounts.
Positives of PerkStreet
The two biggest positives of PerkStreet are the lack of fees and the rewards. You won’t have to worry about your account balance being too low and getting hit with a fee, because there isn’t one.
The rewards are great as well. Unless you have a rewards credit card or a debit card linked to a special checking account (meaning one that you have to keep a minimum balance on) you cannot earn rewards.
Other great positives include:
- Free Bill Pay
- Free Checks
- 42,000+ free ATM’s
- No credit check
Negatives of PerkStreet
There are three main drawbacks to Perk Street. I list them in order to most annoying to least, for my personal needs.
No Savings Account
Currently, PerkStreet only offers its reward checking account. They have a savings account as a high priority and I hope they ofer one soon. While it isn’t the end of the world to have both accounts at one institution, it would be ideal. With ING Direct, where I have another checking and savings account, my transfers between accounts are instant. By having accounts at different banks, it is not instant.
No Smartphone App
While this is not a deal breaker, it would be nice to be able to check my balance from my Smartphone and especially deposit checks from the app. Hopefully this too will be offered soon.
No Business Account
As with the note about no savings account, there is no business checking account either. It would be nice to have this option again, for ease of transfers.
Opening an Account
Opening an account is a breeze. You simply fill out the form online and decide how to fund your account. You can fund your new account with a debit or credit card or with another bank account. The minimum to open the account is $25.
The website is fast and is laid out nicely. I never have to spend a lot of time “looking around” for what I want to do. Everything about the website is intuitive.
Overall, the PerkStreet checking account is a great option for anyone looking for a great rewards checking account without extra fees. While the lack of a savings account is a negative, it isn’t enough to stop me from recommending the account. You can click on the following link if you are interested in opening a PerkStreet Financial checking account.