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What are rewards debit cards and how do they work?

A rewards debit card is typically linked to a checking account. Debit card rewards programs are incentive programs offered by credit unions and banks that link your debit card use at the cash register to earn “rewards” based on the dollar amounts of your purchases.
Most financial institutions offer cashback rewards or debit card reward points
that can be redeemed for discounts and other perks. For example, a Rewards Checking Account from Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) generates interest on the balance and awards CU SoCal Dream Points on debit card transactions. Rewards Checking at CU SoCal does not require a minimum balance to earn interest.
At CU SoCal, we make earning debit card reward points easy!
Call 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation and learn about our mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, checking and savings accounts, and other banking products. As a full-service financial institution, we look forward to helping you with all your banking needs.

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Types of debit card rewards

There are several types of debit card rewards that are commonly offered.

These are:
Cash back. A percentage of the amount you spend is paid b   ack to you as cash back. Credit unions and banks give you the option to get your cash as a credit to your monthly statement or as a deposit into your checking account.
Points. Debit card reward points are earned based on eligible purchases determined by your credit union or bank. Debit card reward points are calculated based on a percentage of your purchase amount. For example, you could earn 2% back on all eligible purchases. Depending on the terms of the rewards program, some purchase categories will earn a higher percentage reward. These points may be use toward merchandise or other perks.
Discounts. Most debit card rewards programs give consumers the option to choose discounts at local restaurants, retailers, and other merchants. Depending on the program, you may be able to choose how you prefer to redeem your rewards—as discounts, or points, or cash-back.

Debit card rewards vs. credit card rewards: which is better?

Debit card rewards programs and credit card rewards each provide consumers with value based on their unique spending habits.
Debit cards that earn rewards have unique terms and conditions. Each card provider has specific account requirements that must be met in order for points/rewards to be earned and redeemed. When choosing your checking and credit card providers, be sure you read and fully understand these account requirements.
While debit card rewards programs may charge a small account fee, if you make frequent in-store purchases your rewards can quickly add up. There are few, if any, penalties associated with a debit card.
All debit card purchase amounts are immediately withdrawn from your checking account. For this reason, you will need to be sure your checking account comes with overdraft protection, which protects you in case you try to withdraw more money from your account than is in the account. Some banks and credit unions charge overdraft fees when you withdraw more money than is available in your account.
Debit cards can be used at ATMs in the U.S. and around the world, as long as the card network is among those supported by the ATM. Fees may apply.
Credit cards are extremely useful wherever you shop. Most credit cards offer cash-back and point rewards for purchase made online or in-store.
The downside of credit cards is the interest rate charged on the outstanding balance. High interest rates (anywhere from 15% - 25%) charged on the outstanding balance you carry can eat away at your ability to save money and cause you to go into debt. Failure to pay your credit card bills on time can damage your credit score.

Are debit card rewards worth it?

Debit card rewards programs, including debit card reward points and debit card cash back rewards, are worth it if you can meet the requirements of the program.
Some debit card rewards programs require you to meet the minimum number of signature-based and PIN-based in-store debit card purchases for each monthly statement cycle to receive rewards.
Rewards checking accounts may come with a small monthly fee, but if you’re a frequent debit card user, the rewards and points you earn could out-weigh the cost of the account.
For example, CU SoCal’s Rewards Checking Account offers a monthly dividend on average account balances, reward points on debit card purchases, and fully-managed identity theft recovery services.
However, you should never increase your monthly spending habits just to earn points or cash-back. The purpose of debit card rewards it to provide consumers with benefits and rewards for their current spending habits.

CU SoCal rewards debit card

Check out the great benefits of the CU SoCal rewards debit card that you’ll get when you open a CU SoCal Rewards Checking account:
Use your points for almost anything. Our online CU SoCal Dream Points redemption portal is filled with thousands of reward options. Select from gift cards, brand name merchandise, or from more than 2,000 merchants nationwide. Or, cash in your CU SoCal Dream Points for just that—cash! Let your CU SoCal Dream Points build to make larger redemptions or redeem after a minimum of $25 is reached.
Combine Dream Points. Dream Points from your Platinum Rewards Visa are pooled with Dream Points earned with a Rewards Checking Visa Debit Card, helping you build value even faster.
Dream without borders. Use your CU SoCal Dream Points to book your next domestic or international getaway. A personal travel concierge will help you schedule and plan every detail of your next vacation from dinner reservations to theater tickets—without any fees. Plus, you'll have access to the Luxury Hotels & Resorts program's amenities, which includes complimentary room upgrades and late checkout. Dream Points from your Platinum Rewards Visa are pooled with Dream Points earned with a Rewards Checking Visa Debit Card, helping you build value even faster.
Earn unlimited points. Earn one point for every $1 spent using your CU SoCal Visa Credit Card and one point for every $3 spent using your CU SoCal Visa Debit Card. Or, shop the exclusive network of local and national merchants and earn bonus points with our Amplified Rewards (Ampre) program.
CU SoCal Dream Points FAQs:
Do Dream Points expire? Yes, points earned will expire after three years.
Are Dream Points transferrable? Yes. You may transfer your CU SoCal Dream Points to another CU SoCal Member by calling our Member Care Center. Please note, all transferred points are final and non-refundable.
How do I redeem my points? To redeem your CU SoCal Dream Points, simply login to Online or Mobile Banking and select the Redeem Rewards widget to view your current available point balance. You will be redirected to our online redemption portal where you can browse available rewards and make a selection. You may also redeem rewards by calling 800.816.3919.
How do I check my point balance? You can find your CU SoCal Dream Point balance in the Redeem Rewards widget in Online and Mobile Banking and by calling the CU SoCal Member Care Center at 866.287.6225 Monday through Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m. or Saturday 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Why savvy consumers choose CU SoCal

For over 60 years CU SoCal has been providing financial services, including mortgages, Home Equity Loans, HELOCs, car loans, personal loans, credit cards, and other banking products, to those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
Please give us a call today at 866.287.6225 today to schedule a no-obligation loan consultation with a CU SoCal Member Services specialist 

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Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is a leading financial institution empowering those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County to reach their goals and build strong financial futures. CU SoCal provides access to convenient money management services and offers competitive rates and flexible terms on auto loans, mortgages, and VISA credit cards—turning wishing and waiting into achieving and doing.


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