Take a pass on latest ploy to get you to switch checking accounts

Photo: Tambako

A new promotion from SunTrust Bank and Delta SkyMiles offers a miles debit card with sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles.

But you'll have to open a qualifying checking account and establish a recurring direct deposit.

This offer gets you thinking about all the wrong things.

We’ve seen debit cards with rewards before, though many of them have been going extinct since last year. Here's what the biggest banks are currently offering:

-Chase doesn’t appear to offer any debit card rewards program right now.

-Bank of America’s only offering is an Alaska Airlines debit card with a small account opening bonus and mediocre rewards of 1 mile per $2 spent.

-Wells Fargo is ending its debit card rewards program as of August 1.

-Citibank offers ThankYou Rewards with its checking accounts. The program awards points for activities like ongoing direct deposits and automatic bill payments and maintaining an automatic savings plan.

We’ve also seen checking accounts offer cash bonuses before, usually for opening an account with a certain amount of money, establishing direct deposit of your paycheck and jumping through a few other hoops.

But now we’ve found a bonus that’s being marketed specifically with a debit card.

Get the full details in my Interest.com article, Take a pass on latest ploy to get you to switch checking accounts.

And before signing up for any rewards debit card, take these three steps:

1. Find out what fees are associated with the underlying checking account. How much will the fees affect you? How significantly will they eat into your new account bonus?

2. Consider the security risks. Think about whether you want to use your debit card as heavily as these deals require since the more you use your card, the greater your exposure to debit card fraud, which leaves you more vulnerable than credit card fraud.

3. Make sure you'll be able to meet all the requirements to actually earn the bonus. For example, in the deal covered in my article, you must receive your first direct deposit by a certain date; your direct deposit must come from an employer or outside agency; you must open your account with at least $100; and you must make your first debit card purchase by a certain date.

If the requirements will be too much of a pain for you to meet, there are plenty of other account opening bonuses to choose from.

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