Banks are now promoting reward programs for their debit cards in an effort to get customers to use them more often.
But take heed: These programs aren’t always free.
Enrolling in a reward program that offers points or cash rebates often means you’re signing up for something most debit cards don’t have – an annual fee.
Chase charges $25 a year to be part of its debit card reward program, as does Citizens Bank. One U.S. Bank program costs a whopping $55.
I got a glossy mailer the other day from Wachovia to entice me to join its program. Guess what I found in the small print? A $12, non-refundable fee.
Debit card reward programs are usually less generous than credit card reward programs too, offering one point for every $2 or $4 spent instead of one-for-$1.
If you use your debit card a lot, they might still be worthwhile.
But you can’t make that decision without knowing how much they cost.