Attractive Awards Still Available on Some Debit Cards

February 23, 2011, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Some issuers are threatening to cut their debit card reward programs due to the looming decrease in the interchange fee. This comes at a time when debit card usage has experienced notable increases. As a result, many consumers are searching for debit cards that offer significant rewards.

Two of the best deals may be debit-like cards offered by Target and Shell. Both offer consumers substantial purchase discounts on their products.

Target Debit Card
The Target Debit Card gives cardholders a five percent discount on in-store purchases such as groceries, clothing, toys, and electronics. The discount does not apply to prescriptions, Target Mobile purchases, gift cards and prepaid cards.

The debit card works like a check. Swipe the card, enter your PIN, and it debits the purchase amount from your existing bank checking account. The Target Debit Card also allows you to withdraw up to $40 cash over the amount of your purchase. The card can only be used at Target stores and it can’t be used for online purchases.

If you regularly shop at Target for groceries and necessities, the Target Debit Card could save you a lot of money over the course of a year. Five percent is much more generous than the typical reward cards that offers one percent back on purchases.

The Target Debit Card offers another nice bonus. Cardholders can also enroll in Target’s Take Charge of Education program and Target will donate one percent of the Target Debit card purchase to the eligible K-12 school of your choice.

It is important to read the fine print before applying because there are a few catches:

* Even though this is a debit card, it will still affect your credit score. Target may request a report from consumer reporting agencies. It may report information to credit bureaus about your debit card application, transactions, and payment history to credit agencies.

* The debit card does not offer the same protection or warranty coverage provided by credit cards.

* Target will share your personal information for their own marketing purposes and will also share it with affiliates. You can opt-out of sharing with nonaffiliates, but you have to call or mail in a form to opt-out. The opt-out form is delivered with the card.

Shell Saver Card
The Shell Saver Card offers a discount of 10 cents per gallon on every Shell gas purchase through April 30, 2011. After that date, the discount will be two cents per gallon on Shell-branded fuel purchases.

There are no enrollment fees, annual fees or finance charges on the card. All that is needed is a checking account. This is not an actual debit card, but acts very much like an electronic check. The card has a PIN and withdraws money directly from the cardholders’ checking account. The card can be used at Shell stations to pay for any purchase, but the discount only applies to fuel.

The discount is automatically deducted from your checking account and reflected on your checking account statement. The receipt you receive at the gas station will not display the discounted purchase amount. You may be charged an NSF fee if there is not enough money in your checking account to cover the purchase amount. Your own bank may also charge an NSF fee.


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The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 23, 2011. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.