Earn Cash Back With These Debit Cards

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Most debit cards don't offer rewards, but a few banks provide cash back rewards programs on certain debit cards. The terms can vary, with some offering cash back on every purchase while others limit your rewards-earning power to select merchants.

If you prefer to use debit instead of a credit card but don't want to miss out on cash back rewards opportunities, here are some debit cards to consider.

4 Cash Back Debit Cards

Here are some of the top cash back debit cards that are available, along with some of their features to help you find the right one for you.

Lending Club Rewards Checking

  • Cash back earning rate: Unlimited 1% back on online and signature-based purchases.
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening balance: $100
  • ATM access: Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements worldwide.
  • Other features or requirements: Offers up to 0.15% APY. Must have a Rewards Checking or Champion Checking account for at least 30 days that's received at least $2,500 worth of direct deposits or has an average balance of at least $2,500.

Axos Bank CashBack Checking

  • Cash back earning rate: Up to 1% back on signature-based purchases, up to $2,000 in total rewards per month.
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening balance: $50
  • ATM access: Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements.
  • Other features or requirements: You must maintain a $1,500 average daily balance to earn 1% cash back. If your balance falls below that threshold, you'll earn a 0.5% cash back rate. Be sure to review rewards exceptions, as they include some common spending categories such as purchases made at supermarkets, superstores and grocery stores.

Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account

  • Cash back earning rate: Unlimited 1% back on all purchases.
  • Monthly fee: $7.95
  • Minimum opening balance: $0
  • ATM access: Fee-free withdrawals at over 30,000 ATMs.
  • Other features or requirements: This is a prepaid debit card, so you must load money onto the card to use it for purchases; some reload options come with a fee.

Cheese Debit Card

  • Cash back earning rate: Up to 10% back at certain retailers; 0.25% base rewards rate.
  • Monthly fee: $0
  • Minimum opening balance: $0
  • ATM access: Fee-free withdrawals at over 37,000 ATMs.
  • Other features or requirements: Earn a 3% bonus on your deposits for 30 days for each friend you refer who deposits at least $50 when they open their account.

How Does Debit Card Cash Back Work?

For the most part, debit card cash back rewards programs work similarly to cash back credit card programs. When you make an eligible purchase, you'll earn a rewards rate based on the card's applicable rewards rate.

For many cards and many purchases, that means a flat 1% back. Other cards may earn you a much higher rate, but only with select retailers. Depending on how you spend your money, one card may have the potential to earn you more than other options.

Before you open an account, though, make sure you understand its rewards limitations. With some cards, for instance, there's a cap on how much you can earn every month. If the limit is low and you expect to exceed it based on what you normally spend, that may not be a problem. If you're a big spender, you'll be leaving money on the table if you're not able to earn rewards on all of your transactions.

In other cases, you may need to maintain a minimum balance or pay a monthly fee. Consider whether these drawbacks are worth it before you make a decision.

Are Cash Back Debit Cards Worth It?

The rewards you can get from a cash back debit card won't be as valuable as what you can get from a cash back credit card. So if you're looking to maximize how much you earn, consider using a credit card instead.

For example, the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase you make.

If you want the chance to maximize rewards even more, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers a flat 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent every quarter on rotating bonus categories when you activate, plus 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstores and 1% back on everything else. What's more, as a new cardholder, you'll earn a $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months and 5% back on up to $12,000 in grocery store purchases during your first year with the card.

Keep in mind, though, that earning cash back with a debit card may be better than with a credit card if you tend to carry a balance. Interest charges can easily wipe out any value you get from a credit card's rewards program. Unless you can pay your balance in full every month, a cash back debit card might be worth consideration.

Also, if you prefer to avoid credit cards in general, it may be a no-brainer to choose a cash back debit card instead.

Check Your Credit If Applying for a Credit Card

You typically don't have to worry about a credit check when opening a checking account. But if you're thinking of applying for a cash back credit card, check your credit score before you do so.

By using Experian CreditMatch™, you can be paired with credit cards matched to your credit profile.

The best cash back credit cards tend to require good or excellent credit, which means having a FICO® Score of 670 or higher. Meeting that threshold doesn't guarantee approval, though. So if you're right at that level or below it, consider working on improving your credit before you apply. In the meantime, you can still earn cash back through a debit card.

All information regarding Lending Club Rewards Checking, Axos Bank CashBack Checking, Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account and Cheese Debit Card has been gathered independently by Experian and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer.

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