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5 Debit Card Perks You Might Not Know About

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Credit cards have long been associated with rewards — points, miles, extended warranties, free car rental service. The list, especially when you’re talking premium plastic, can go on and on.

But, believe it or not, you may be able to score some perks with a debit card, too. Admittedly, they’re not nearly as lucrative as the ones attached to their credit card counterparts. (And, if you’ve got a good credit score and a propensity for paying down balances in full, it can be worthwhile to apply for premium credit cards.)

Still, if you’re wary of running up balances on credit cards, here are some debit card perks that you might not know about.

1. Rewards

Debit card rewards programs largely fell to the wayside, following the passage of the Durbin Amendment in 2010, which capped the swipe fees that issuers could charge merchants at 21 cents per transaction, essentially making it harder for them to fund rewards and still turn a profit. However, there are some debit cards on the market that do let cardholders earn some points or cash back on their purchases.

Bank of America debit cardholders, for instance, can earn up to 15% cash back at select retailers through its BankofAmeriDeals program. PNC Bank debit cardholders have access to a similar program. And Discover Bank has a cash-back checking account that allows account holders to, among other things, earn 10 cents for every debit card purchase.

2. Discounts

Some co-branded debit cards give account holders the opportunity to save some money at a merchant or company they frequent. The Chase Disney Visa Debit Card, for instance, entitles cardholders to 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select Walt Disney World Resort locations, 10% off at select dining locations (on most days) and 15% off select guided tours.

3. Access

Chase Disney Visa debit cardholders also get access to an exclusive character Meet-n-Greet at a private location. It’s not the only card that helps account holders get access to special events. Citi debit cardholders can use the bank’s Private Pass Program, which gives customers access to VIP packages, pre-sales and preferred seating at concert, sports and entertainment events. (Full Disclosure: CitibankDiscover and Chase advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

4. Identity Theft Protection

MasterCard provides their debit and credit cardholders with the opportunity to sign up for free identity theft detection and resolution services. These services include alerts that your personal information, including credit or debit card numbers, Social Security number, driver’s license or other sensitive data, is being bought or sold online; emergency wallet replacement; and assistance in notifying creditors and the credit bureaus of fraud you may encounter.

5. Extended Warranties & Other Ancillary Perks

Issuers also have the option of adding ancillary perks like extended warranties, price protection, roadside assistance and more through programs run by Visa and MasterCard. And some, in fact, do. The Fidelity Visa Gold Debit card, for instance, touts extended warranty services for the first 90 days from the date of purchase, travel and emergency assistance, worldwide travel accident insurance and an auto rental collision damage waiver.

It’s a good idea to ask a bank you’re considering doing business with if any of these ancillary perks come with a debit card you’re considering, along with what restrictions may apply.

Remember, too, it’s just generally a good idea to read the fine print of any financial contract you’re considering before you go ahead and apply to be sure it’s the right product for you. And, whether using debit or credit, be careful not to overspend just to earn some perks. Missed bill payments or heavy debt loads could hurt your credit. (You can see where two of your credit scores stand for free each month on Credit.com.)

At publishing time, DiscoverCitibank, and Chase products are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for their cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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