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Earn Up To 10% Back With SmartyPig Card

SmartyPig, the online social banking site, has a prepaid MasterCard that’s different from almost all other prepaid cards on the market: There aren’t many fees, plus you can earn generous cash-back rewards for using the card at participating retailers.

With the SmartyPig Cash Rewards Prepaid MasterCard, you earn up to 10% when you use the card to make purchases at more than 9,000 participating retailers across the country.

Here’s a look at the details of this prepaid debit card:

Card purchase fee $4.95
Monthly fee None
Domestic ATM withdrawal fees $1.95 per transaction for withdrawals, 50 cents for balance inquiries.
Rewards Up to 10% cash back at more than 9,000 participating retailers.
Other features Free direct deposit; FDIC-insured.
Verdict The card is somewhat complicated, but the rewards may make it worthwhile.

While there is a $4.95 initial set-up fee, there are no monthly maintenance, reload or customer service fees. There is a $1.95 fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals and 50 cents for balance inquiries.

Other than that, there are practically no other fees. Fees on many other prepaid cards can amount to well over $100 a year.

Although most of the participating merchants are regional and local retailers, there are some big national chains where you can earn rewards.

For example, you earn 8% back at Zales Jewelers, 5% at Barnes & Noble and iTunes, 4% at Sears.com, and 3% at Red Lobster and Staples.

The sheer number of participating retailers does make the card a bit complicated. (And the corresponding SmartyPig savings account requires a lot of effort from savers.) But if you can get as much as 10% cash back for using the card, it might be worth your while.

It’s easy to look up a merchant on SmartyPig’s website. Just type in the merchant’s name, and see if it participates and what reward it pays.

Or type in your local area, and see which local merchants participate.

You load funds onto the card through your online SmartyPig savings account, which used to offer some of the best nationally available rates. Today it pays 0.70% APY, which is better than average, but not among the top accounts we track.

The card can be used anywhere debit MasterCard is accepted.

Your cash-back earnings can be transferred to your SmartyPig savings account to help you reach your savings goals faster, or they can be left on the card for future purchases.

Funds on the card are protected by FDIC insurance, but you don’t earn any interest.

As for the savings account, SmartyPig differs from traditional accounts in that it makes you set a savings goal. Goals can be as small as $250, and each goal requires an initial deposit of at least $25.

You link each goal to a funding source, such as your checking or savings account, and set aside money regularly to meet that goal. You can add extra money to your account, either on your own or use social networking to ask your friends and family to help you.

Once you reach your goal, you can send the money to your bank account, put it on your SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card or get a retailer gift card, where you can earn up to 11% cash back.

While the process is far different from a typical savings account, your money is held by a real bricks-and-mortar bank, BBVA Compass, which has more than 700 branches across the South.

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Comments (2)
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2 Existing Comments
  1. Bob said:
    on February 15th at 06:44 pm

    You are completely misrepresenting this product.

    You cannot add money directly in any way including direct deposit to this card.

    You put money into the SmartyPig Savings and transfer it and that can take a long long time.

    In any event there are many portals that offer cash back using ANY card. MrRebate, Ebates, RewardRunners etc

    http://www.smartypig.com/how-it-works/faq

    You have two options for funding your SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card. You can transfer all or part of a SmartyPig goal to your SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card (1 transfer per goal per month) or you can request funds be transferred from an existing SmartyPig funding source (it can take up to 8 business days for funds to become available on your SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card when transferring funds from a SmartyPig funding source).

  2. Mike Cetera said:
    on February 16th at 09:06 am

    Thanks for the additional information. To be clear, though, the post never claimed there was a direct deposit option.