Earn Rewards without a Credit Card
It’s always a nice perk to earn cash back on purchases. But for years, cash back rewards were limited to credit cards. That’s no longer the case. Nowadays, several financial institutions include cash back rewards on debit card purchases. This is ideal if you prefer to use debit cards for spending.
Cash back debit cards offer the same benefits as cash back credit cards, without the risk of taking on high-interest debt.
But where can you get a cash back debit card, and is there a catch? To help, I’ve compiled a list of the best cash back debit cards. You’ll find offerings from online banks and a couple of national banks, including Bank of America.
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6 Best Cash Back Debit Cards
When using cash back debit cards – or cash back credit cards – it’s important to be aware of the card’s terms and conditions.
What are the monthly or annual fees? How much cash back will you get? What are the terms for qualifying for cash back and what is the limit on how much cash back you can earn?
We’ll answer all these questions for our top picks for the best cash back debit cards.
1. Axos Bank
Cash back: Up to 1%
Additional info: Up to $2,000/mo. in cash back
Axos Bank has several checking accounts to choose from, but CashBack Checking is the account that can help you earn up to $2,000 in cash back every month.
There’s no monthly fee for this account, which includes check-writing privileges, unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements, and a $50 minimum to open the account.
Axos offers one of the best free checking accounts, especially if you prefer online banking.
While there is no minimum balance requirement for the account, there is if you want to receive the maximum cash back earnings.
This is a non-interest-bearing account, but if your spending is high, your cash back earnings could outweigh any interest you may have earned with other Axos accounts.
Bonus information: Check out Axos’ High Yield Savings account if you’re interested in earning more on your savings with just a $250 minimum opening balance. There is no minimum balance requirement after the $250 minimum opening requirement.
What else to know: You need to maintain a minimum balance of $1,500 to earn 1% cash back. If your balance falls below $1,500 any time during the month, you’ll earn 0.50% cash back on all monthly purchases. Only signature-based transactions qualify.
2. M1 Finance
Cash back: 1%
Fee: $125 per year
Additional info: No limit on cash back
M1 Finance is a fintech company that partners with the FDIC-insured Lincoln Savings Bank. You can get an M1 Finance checking account for free with no fees or minimum balance requirements and a host of other benefits.
M1 Finance offers a $0 commission trading platform, a credit card, and low-interest rate loans.
However, you need to upgrade to the M1 Plus membership to earn cash back on debit purchases.
The M1 Plus membership comes with other benefits as well. Your checking account will qualify for cash back on debit card purchases, and it earns interest.
You’ll get a lower interest rate on loans and additional investing benefits, and the annual credit card fee is waived.
What else to know: To cover the $10.42 account fee (monthly average), you’d need to spend at least $1,042 per month on signature-based checking transactions.
You’d either need to swipe your card, hit “credit” instead of “debit” when asked, or enter your 16-digit account number for online sales.
3. Bank of America
Cash back: Up to 15%
Fee: $4.95-$25 per month or $0
Additional info: Cash back on select purchases through the BankAmeriDeals program
Bank of America is another long-standing bank with a proven track record of good products and services.
When you have a Bank of America checking account and debit card, you can get cash back via the BankAmeriDeals program when you make purchases using that debit card.
Bank of America has three checking account options, which give you ways to waive the monthly fee attached to the account. And all three accounts offer a debit card.
What else to know: Cash back rewards apply only to the merchants listed on your BankAmeriDeals app list.
Although the list of merchants that partner with the program is long, it’s not limitless, whereas other cards may offer cash back on all purchases.
4. Truist Delta SkyMiles Debit Card
Cash back: 1 mile for every $2 you spend
Fee: $95/year (can be waived or reduced)
Additional info: Card fees and account fees apply
The Truist One Checking account offers two debit card options, one of which provides cash back rewards in miles for flying on Delta.
This checking account has a $12 per month fee, which can be waived if you have at least $500 in monthly Direct Deposits going into the account or keep a $500 minimum balance.
There are no overdraft fees with this account, and you get $100 of “wiggle room” (before a transaction is declined) if your account goes into the negative.
While its features are attractive, this card is best for frequent travelers and spenders.
However, if you are a frequent traveler and don’t mind using credit cards, you might want to check out more premium travel credit cards.
Our article comparing the American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards can give you more information on premium travel credit cards.
What else to know: The annual fee for the debit card can be reduced or waived. However, you must have a running balance of at least $25,000 in your checking account before annual fee reductions begin.
Cash back: Up to 10% (special offers)
Additional info: Cash back at select merchants
Empower is a spending account with a debit card. The fintech account offers no minimum balance, no minimum opening deposit, free in-network ATM transactions, and more.
With the Empower account, you can get your Direct Deposit up to two days early and enjoy a credit line of between $200 and $1,000.
Empower reports to major credit bureaus, so you have the option to build credit as well.
What else to know: Cash back applies to only one retailer at a time. However, you can change retailers anytime you’d like.
For example, you could choose Walmart as your cash back retailer, make your Walmart purchase, change the cash back retailer on your Empower account when you’re done at Walmart, and then proceed to shop and get cash back on your next purchase from the new retailer.
Although this process is not as convenient as what some other cash back debit cards offer, Empower could be a good choice if you are needing to build credit.
Cash back: 1%
Additional info: Unlimited cash back
LendingClub started out in the P2P lending business and has evolved into a bona fide FDIC-insured banking institution. They now offer banking accounts and other bank products.
The company’s Rewards Checking offers cash back, no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements, and a minimum opening deposit of $25.
In addition, you can earn interest on your checking account balance if you keep the balance at a minimum of $2,500.
The bank will also reimburse you for any ATM fees other banks charge.
What else to know: You need to maintain a minimum balance of $2,500 or have Direct Deposits totaling $2,500 each month to qualify for cash back rewards.
Also, cash back rewards are given on signature-based transactions only. This means that you must select “credit” rather than “debit” for in-person purchases.
Cash withdrawals or equivalent purchases such as gift cards do not qualify for cash back rewards.
The Bottom Line
If you love earning cash back rewards on purchases but aren’t keen on using credit cards, a cash back debit card might be the perfect solution.
As you can see from our list, there are several great cash back debit cards to choose from that can accommodate your checking account needs and offer additional features such as cash back on debit card purchases, pay you interest, and more.
While some of the cards on our list tempt you with high cash back rates at select retail partners (Bank of America, Empower), you will have to dig deep to find out if they’re worth it.
In my opinion, the Discover card is the most straightforward and offers the best value.
The bottom line? If you use a debit card for spending but your bank doesn’t offer cash back, strongly consider one of the cash back debit cards from our list.
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