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Visa Debit Card Rewards

April 18th, 2006 at 02:41 pm

If you're a U.S. resident with a Visa debit card issued by a U.S. bank, you may be eligible to receive points on your purchases that you can cash in for gift certificates.

Check to see if your issuing bank participates in the

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Visa Extras Rewards program. This program pays you one point per dollar for all purchases made with your Visa debit card that are not completed with a keypad and PIN -- in other words, if you use your debit card online or by phone, or if you choose "credit" at the keypad at checkout and then sign a receipt.

This is a free service offered by many banks (though the site says some banks may charge a fee for participation). You can enter your debit card number on the site to find out if your bank participates, without any obligation to enroll.

You'll get 1,000 points for signing up. Earn 1 point per dollar thereafter (remember, purchases you pay for by "debit" and use a PIN don't qualify). There are some bonus point offers available on their site as well.

Rewards include merchandise (Olympics pins, hats, and the like), magazine subscriptions, and gift cards to a variety of stores and restaurants.

A $5 GC costs 2,000 points... so you're not going to get blown away by your return, but if you were going to use your debit card anyway, at least you have the option of signing for your purchases and getting a little something back for your trouble.

Alternatives to MyPoints

April 18th, 2006 at 12:05 am

If you are shopping online and not earning rebates on your purchases, you are throwing money away!

I've written about rewards programs, where you can earn shopping rebates (or points you can convert to cash or free gift certificates), for several years on my main website,

Text is and Link is, and I've been a member of these types of programs for about ten years.

I've put together a quick list of a few alternatives to for people who might be concerned about their recent sale and want to try out something different.

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ClubMom Rewards - earn gift cards or merchandise for shopping online and offline, with competitive rebates. Co-founded by Meredith Vieira of The View (and soon to be of The Today Show), ClubMom is one of the few sites that allows you to earn rebates on the purchase of gift cards. (If you like to eat at Chili's or Applebee's anyway, why not pay for it with a gift card you bought through ClubMom, earning 10 points per dollar, equal to a 5% rebate?)

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Ebates - earn cash paid quarterly (by check or PayPal, when you've earned $5 or more) for shopping online, with pretty decent rebates. They have a great coupon center arranged alphabetically by merchant, so you can combine discount coupon codes with your rebate for extra savings.

Text is and Link is - earn gift cards or cash for shopping online or completing various offers like signing up for newsletters. Plus, like MyPoints, earn cash for reading their daily email. Shopping rebates are very competitive and credit to your account very quickly (often within 24 hours). You can cash out to PayPal with no minimum and get paid usually the same day... or save up your earnings for a gift card or Disney Dollars.

These are just a few of my favorite rewards programs, but I've received rewards from all three, multiple times, and unlike MyPoints, I have a lot of confidence that they will be around a while (Ebates was launched in '98, QuickRewards in '03, and I think ClubMom's rewards program was also launched in '03).