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PerkStreet Financial Review – Setting Themselves Apart with Cash Back Debit Card & Rewards Checking

By David Bakke

perkstreet financial logoI recently decided to check out the website PerkStreet Financial, an online bank which offers a lot of things that you really won’t find anywhere else.

In this day and age, there are a wide variety of places that you can put your money, including a huge number of online banks. PerkStreet does a great job of setting themselves apart from most other online banking websites.

Features and Benefits

PerkStreet offers a checking account which is pretty much free. Here are the high points of what it has to offer:

  • $25 to open the account
  • No minimum balance
  • Free checks
  • No monthly fees, when you use your account
  • Free online banking and bill pay
  • Nation’s largest “free” ATM network
  • 24/7 customer support, live and fast
  • Unique debit card offering 1% cash back, or free coffee or music
  • Sign up takes five minutes
  • Fraud protection

The Breakdown

For the features and benefits that are not self explanatory, I’d like to go into a little more detail as to what they really mean. There are no monthly fees WHEN you use your account. What that basically means is that if you don’t use your account in a particular month, then they will assess your account a $4.50 inactivity fee. What they consider “activity” is a debit card transaction, writing a check, making a deposit or withdrawal, or using online Bill Pay. Also, I dug into the fine print pretty deeply and, fortunately, I wasn’t able to find much in terms of “sneaky fees” with PerkStreet.

Their ATM network has over 37,000 branches, which they state is the largest in the country.

They also offer free overnight delivery if you deposit money through the mail at UPS and Mailboxes Etc. locations.

Rewards

Most debit cards do not even have rewards programs. PerkStreet does and their rewards program is really quite unique. As I said, they are trying to set themselves apart from all the other online banking sites and all the other reward programs, and they really do a pretty good job of it. Their debit card offers a rewards program that can range from 1%-2%. If your account balance is $5,000 or less, you earn 1%. If it’s more than $5,000, then you earn 2%. They also offer 5% when you shop at certain retailers. The participating retailers are announced periodically, and it you don’t need to “sign up” for this aspect of the rewards program. Keep in mind that the purchases that qualify for rewards are all non-PIN debit card purchases, so make sure you don’t use your PIN when purchasing (choose “credit” at the checkout machine even though it’s essentially the same thing as “debit”). There is no limit to the amount of rewards that you can earn and these rewards can be redeemed in less than 60 seconds.

Cash, Coffee or Music

They also have some very unique features to the reward program itself. They offer the option of cash back, which you really don’t find with many debit cards. Now, when you get down to it, it’s really not CASH back. The reward will come to you in the way of a gift card which is essentially cash. The options are a Visa gift card, or a gift card to a variety of retailers. With their other reward options, you can either get free music or free coffee. This part alone was enough to get me interested in this site. Not that I am a huge coffee or music fan, but the fact that they offer a rewards program that seems so “out of the box.” So if you are a huge coffee fan you can redeem your reward for a gift card to a variety of coffeehouses. And yes, Starbucks is included. Or you can get your reward in a gift card to a variety of music sites. And yes, iTunes is included.

Fees and Fine Print

A scouring of the fees and the fine print on the site yielded the following. They have the inactivity fee that I mentioned before, plus all the standard overdraft fees and so forth. The only other fee I found of interest, which must be one of the newer wrinkles that the banking industry has cooked up, is a “research” fee. Basically, it sounds like if they have to research anything when you make an inquiry, they could charge you an hourly fee for it. But it sounds like they limit that to cases involving the IRS, legal requests and so on (most likely not applicable to you). They also have a fee if you use your debit card outside of the PerkStreet network which again is fairly widespread.

“The Company” Website Section

Most sections of this nature on banking websites are filled with the same old boring stuff. A list of the higher ups with their pictures, and the same old mumbo jumbo. I found PerkStreet’s “Company” section to be different and refreshing. Check it out for yourself because it contains some good information, but here are a few quick excerpts:

  • “We believe that banks should align their goals with their customer’s best interests…”
  • “We serve people who manage their money responsibly…who prefer to bank using their computers and ATMs…(and) who believe that positive change in banking can happen and choose to be a part of it.”

These are some things that you probably wouldn’t have heard from a bank in recent years. I think it shows that PerkStreet realizes what has happened to the reputations of banks in general, and that they are dedicated to their customers and are trying to regain the public’s trust.

Their Blog

As always, I had to check out their blog. And honestly, it’s one of the better ones that I’ve read in awhile. The content there is excellent, they have fresh new posts almost daily, and they even offer quite a few “guest” posts with unique content. It resembles a personal finance blog in a lot of ways so if you decide to check it out, you can find content there that is not strictly related to banking.

The Other Side

And also, you know I had to dig deep to see what, if any, “dirt” I could find on PerkStreet. That was quite a task, as there really wasn’t much of any. I looked longer and harder than I have for most other reviews that I have done, and I really couldn’t find any.

I found a few complaints regarding the payment of a $100 bonus offer that they ran awhile back (delay in payment) and that was really about it. And I had to dig to find that. Everything else out there in the way of reviews and so forth was extremely positive.

Final Word

My final word is that if I were looking for an online bank to put my money in, I would definitely consider PerkStreet. They seem truly committed to long term high quality customer service, they have a rewards program that most debit cards don’t even offer, and they could not make the process of signing up, redeeming rewards, or online banking in general any simpler.

Keep in mind that debit card transactions generally not do anything to build your credit portfolio, so if this is one of the things you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll have to go elsewhere. Other than that, I think PerkStreet has really set themselves apart from most online banks as well as most rewards programs.

Are you a member of PerkStreet Financial? Or another online bank that may be better? Or worse?  Please share below!

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://personalfinancejourney.com Lakita

    Just wanted to mention the “research fee” isn’t necessarily new. I’ve encountered it with other banks before…but it isn’t one of those items you’d come in contact with on a regular basis.

    • david/moneycrashers

      Its laughable some of the things they come up with. Then again, its really not funny because this stuff can cost you money

      Thanks for chiming in!

  • Gareth

    A checking account that pays you a real interest rate? Thats unreal! I’m gonna read your article again later and check out the website. I may just sign up.

    • David/moneycrashers

      Gareth

      Yes, it looks to be a pretty good deal. Anytime you can find a debit card with a rewards program attached to it, its a pretty decent find.

      Let me know how it shakes out if you decide to sign up.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • AV

    There are several problems with this bank, so I would warn potential customers to be aware of the fine print. Although PerkStreet’s website has the appearance of being clear about their policies, I found that not to be the case. These “fine print” policies seem designed to (1) make it difficult to move money out of the account, and (2) to limit the cashback that you can earn. Below are examples.

    (1) They have a limit of $1500 on incoming online transfers in an entire *month*! They don’t tell you about this anywhere except when you actually try to move money into your account. When I called them about it, they said that they have this restriction for new customers and I was still in my first month. After a couple more calls, I realized that they will increase this limit to $2500 after six months.

    Stated reason: Security.
    Suspected motive: To limit the amount of money you can spend to get cashback.

    (2) They have a limit of $500 on outgoing online transfers. So, say you move $5000 into your account to get 2% cashback. You are stuck with that money with them for the rest of the month (unless you adopt a slower paper check route).

    (3) They have a limit of $1500 on daily expenses and explicitly say on their website that it can be waived simply by making a phone call. I had to book two one-way international flight tickets that cost a total of over $1500. I booked these and called them to waive the limit. They refused to do so because I was still in my first month. There is no notice about waivers not being allowed in the first month anywhere. As a result, I have to now spend much more money re-booking that ticket just because PerkStreet does not allow me to spend my own money.

    Stated reason: Security for new customers. They claim that all banks have spending limits on debit cards. Really? Bank of America did not.

    Suspected motive: Limiting spending => limiting cashback.

    (4) When I tried to circumvent the limitation in (1) above to move more money into my account using FedEx, there was another surprise! The first FedEx check takes not 1 day as stated, but about 9 days for some reason. Again, some vague security reason that is incomprehensible to rational beings is given as an explanation.

    Bottomline: It is not easy to get much cashback because of their restrictive policies on what you can do with your money. And they make it harder to move money out of the account while not giving any interest on it. As for the 5% cashback, they are on such specific and tiny items that I have never been able to get 5% cashback so far.

    • David/moneycrashers

      AV

      Thank you so much for your detailed commentary!

      It is invaluable to our readers when we hear from people who have had first hand experiences with these websites that we review.

      Your words are much appreciated by me, and I’m sure by our readers as well.

      I guess, sometimes its not even enough to read the fine print!

      Thanks again!!

    • IM

      Wow – thank you very much for these pointers. I was about to open an account with them, but after reading this, no way I’m dealing with these kinds of issues.

      • david

        IM

        I think I got the ball rolling by writing the review, but our readers’ comments have proven to be just as helpful

        Thanks for commenting

        • BBD

          Now they limit it to $500 incoming transfer per month and ZERO outgoing! (When I found out only $500 in online transfers, I decided to close). To get my money, I’m going to have to write a check and deposit it in my “real” bank.

          I called to close the account and was told you have to write a letter, can’t close it over the phone.

          Customer service was no help, she just said “why don’t you go to a regular bank to make your deposits”. Well, I guess I will!

          Not impressed at all and as soon as I get the funds out of my account I am sending that letter to close it!

        • Jason Henrichs

          BBD- I’m sorry you haven’t been pleased with the experience and we are anxious to improve the experience and the expectations we set. We’ve commented in several places, including several blog posts (http://blog.perkstreet.com/is-perkstreet-a-scam/), that describe our tight policies that we use keep fraud down so we can give maximal rewards. The transfer limits go up based on a risk model and depth of relationship; $500 is just an initial limit. I’m unclear why you couldn’t transfer out because we believe in enabling free transfer in and out unlike other banks. I suggest we take that part offline as I’d like to figure out what went wrong in this situation. Can you email me at jhenrichs “@” perkstreet.com so I can understand the account situation and I’d like to follow up with the representative involved since we pride ourselves on customer service. In addition, there are many other ways to make sure the account is fully funded so you can maximize the perks you earn in the interim.

          You can close the account if it has a zero balance; it is for your protection that we require either a zero balance or a written confirmation before disbursing funds. Once we rectify the outgoing transfer situation, which should be quick, you’ll be able to do this over the phone.

          Again, I’m sorry this experience did not meet your expectations. Our entire team is dedicated to bringing more cash back to American families and creating a better banking experience. Your feedback will help us live up to that vision.

          Best-

          Jason
          COO
          PerkStreet Financial

    • guest

      does “incoming online transfer” include direct deposit from your employer?

      • CMJ

        good question….does any Perkstreet representative know the answer to this question? this will be the determining factor of me opening an account..

  • http://www.perkstreet.com Jason Henrichs

    My name is Jason Henrichs and I work for PerkStreet. I’ve corresponded with AV since his experience and also worked with our customer service team to improve the information he was delivered. We are always working to improve the experience and any customer’s feedback is appreciated. We are taking action on the areas of AV’s experience that can be corrected, but there are several parts of his claim that I’d like to better explain.

    Unfortunately fighting fraud is a tremendous burden that has several impacts not just for the bank but for the customers as we establish a relationship. For AV’s first point, the limit does go up over time and with the deeper relationship. There are several ways you can get money in the account besides our free online transfer- by pushing the money from the other account, setting up direct deposit or sending a check. We recognized that this would limit a new customer’s ability to meet the $5,000 threshold which is why we put in a 90 day grace period where you earn 2% no matter what. If we were looking to bait and switch to keep your balance captive we certainly wouldn’t have done that. We keep a small share of the interchange earned when a customer uses the card and give most of it back to the customer. It is in our best interest to make sure customers can spend as much as they want while balancing the fraud exposure to us and to the customer.

    On the daily limit, I’ve worked with the customer service agent on how to better handle the situation and apologize that it was not a stellar experience.

    For your last point on the check, it is clearly stated in FAQs what the hold times are but let’s face it, wading through FAQs is a pain so you naturally picked up the phone where the representative was not clear in her explanation. Again, I’ve worked on the education that she should have inquired whether you were a new customer because their is an extra hold time for the first 30 days.

    Unfortunately banks have done little to engender trust so we’re fighting little by little to do better and earn that back. IM- I hope you’ll give us a shot. We aren’t perfect but I can assure we have many customers who love us. And I don’t know many other banks that have their COO writing a lengthy reply to an irate customer on a Saturday because he genuinely cares about making banking better.

    Any customer or potential customer can contact me directly if they have questions or suggestions: jhenrichs -at- perkstreet.com

    • David/moneycrashers

      Jason
      Thank you so much for your response, its great that you care so much to take the time to reply.

      Looks like there was some misinformation given and of course, you are up against what the reputation of banks in general is these days.

      Regardless, thanks for commenting and from what I saw, it looks like Perkstreet is a pretty good deal all around!

  • MagsWags

    I wish I could comment about a Perkstreet account, but since they are making it incredibly difficult to open an account with them, I can’t say anything specific about the product.

    I can tell you that I applied for an account (which to me is a bizarre concept…I have to “apply” to deposit money with them?!?!?) on a Saturday, received an email on a Tuesday that they needed me to call a number to verify some information. I called on a Wednesday and was told I needed to prove my SS#. So I sent them the information they needed. And then I heard nothing. Not even an acknowledgment of the information I sent them. I REALLY hope at this point that Perkstreet is not some sort of scam. My only hope is that since Dave Ramsey recommended them, that they are legit. We’ll see if they ever “approve my application”.

    For the record, when I first learned about Perkstreet, I was very excited to get started. And I have been trying to figure out ways to use my debit card for things like household bills (paying the mortgage would be SWEET…but that’s not going to happen) ever since. Just so you know…I have worked for one of the largest banks in the country for over 12 years, and I wanted to put my money in Perkstreet!! Just because they pay me, doesn’t mean I want my money in the big bank…

    • David

      Mags

      Wow. All I can say is Wow.

      As always, its great to have the perspective of someone who’se “been there”. Maybe you should write to Jason, who commented on this review earlier.

      Thanks for your commentary!

    • http://blog.perkstreet.com Jennifer Scott

      Hi MagsWags,
      I’m sorry I missed this comment earlier, and I’m so sorry you haven’t heard back. We do have an application process like most banks, online or other. I’d like to help you get to the next step in that process, but I do need your name to be able to research the problem more. You can email me at jennifer.scott at perkstreet.com and I’ll help you get the answers you need.

      I think it’s a great testament to the broken nature of big banking that you’re looking for a place other than your employer to keep your money!

      Looking forward to hearing from you,

      Jennifer Scott
      Digital Communications Manager
      PerkStreet Financial

      • kenny

        THIS IS SO TRUE – I am all about rewards and online anything. Perkstreet is a big NO in my books. From what I understand they have good customer service (24/7 etc). But that has not been my experience. I tried opening a bank account and since I recently moved don’t have any paperwork to show the address except for shipped items (invoices) to that address. They never contacted me about sending any address verification documents. I contacted them after two weeks and it took them 2 days to get back (not a good sign for an online only bank). In the end I was told to call them at their 800 number (approx 1 month has passed). The customer ‘service’ agent actually laughed over the phone when I mentioned those are the only documents I had. I understand they need to verify the address but I actually was insulted over the phone for not providing proof. In any case, I politely asked them to close the account.

  • Gareth

    Ally bank ftw. Simple and greater rates.

    • David

      Gareth

      I’ve heard great things about them too.

      Simplicity sometimes goes a lot further than rates too!

      Thanks for commenting

      • Gareth

        I don’t mean to put ParkStreet Financial down, but after rereading the article, checking out their website and see what other options there were out there, I noticed it wasn’t the best option for me (It may be for others). I went with Ally Bank, Chase’s 5% cash back credit card, and American Express’s Costco credit card.

  • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers

    BBD

    Looks like there are lots of pros and cons to the site–I’m glad you commented to give our other readers a realistic review of PerkStreet.

    Thanks for joining in!

  • Dan

    One thing that some of you are forgetting, and I only say this because of my stance on Credit Cards, is that perkstreet isn’t a credit card. It’s a debt card. That means there isn’t a chance of me forgetting a payment or the credit company losing a payment I send in, or the payment not going through on either my computer for some reason or their computers. So it makes sense that you get a rate of return a little higher, financially because the risk is higher there.

    I will say this, I’m working on getting my account all set up and it seems to be taking an awfully long time, but then again, I’m use to being able to walk into a branch and getting that all done at one time. It’s a little different with an online only bank. With the amount of fraud going on, I’m sure they have to take lots of precautions. That being said, I do wish there was a bit of a faster way to get this thing going. I’m excited about this card though and we will see how it goes.

  • Jason Henrichs

    Dan- thanks for the clarification on the rate of return (don’t forget the leverage you get from the ability to use the rewards through out the year rather than saving up for a plane ticket and the fact we don’t have an annual fee). I’m sorry to hear it’s taking longer than you expected. If you don’t mind dropping me a note at help “@” perkstreet.com, I’d appreciate hearing where we missed expectations. While we might not be able to solve everything because of fraud and regulatory issues, we can always improve the expectations we set.

    Glad to have you on board!

    ~Jason

  • Howard

    When I initially funded my new checking account, it was pitched on PerkStreet’s website that I could fund via credit card and that it would be seen by my credit card company as a purchase rather than a cash advance. Since I pay off my credit card each month, I was good with this and decided to use the credit card method.

    Well, even though Perkstreet puts it through as a purchase, Bancorp apparently puts it through as a cash advance and, regardless, Citibank (my credit card company) sees their merchant code as a financial institution and automatically accounts for it as a cash advance. They say transactions for financial institutions, by new federal law, are required to be handled as cash advances.

    The result is that this supposedly “free” transaction is now costing me about $21.00 in fees and interest because it was a cash advance.

    Beware this initial funding method; PerkStreet should not be selling it as a “purchase” when it is clearly very costly, even for someone who pays off his balance each month.

    • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers

      Howard

      This is a key point and I appreciate you alerting our readers to it.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • http://www.perkstreet.com Brendan Carroll

      Hi Howard,

      I work for Perkstreet and want to apologize for the confusion around funding your account with a credit card. The language is in the process of being changed to be clearer. PerkStreet does not charge a fee to initially fund your account with a credit card. In fact, we cover the fee we get charged. Please shoot me an email at [email protected] with your full name and I will see if I can work something out about the fee you were charged. Transparency is extremely important to us and we always strive to provide the best possible banking experience for all of our customers.
      www.perkstreet.com

  • Dan

    I love Perkstreet. It did take a little while to get set up, but it’s so nice not having to worry about paying off a credit card each month and still getting a great return.

    So far, I’m almost half way to what I earned with the Costco Amex Express card in three months, I’ve earned three times as much as I did at Ally bank (I even had more money in Ally than I keep in perkstreet), and as far as rewards, I love the choices I have.

    It’s great!
    Thanks Perkstreet!

    • Dan

      I should clarify: I’ve earned in perks in three months almost half of what it took me an entire year to earn using the Costco Amex Express Card

      • http://www.moneycrashers.com David/moneycrashers

        Dan

        Looks like the feedback is about 50/50 for Perkstreet!

        I appreciate you taking the time to comment on your experiences!

  • Carl

    WARNING ON PERKSTREET: If you take the “cash” rewards option they send you a visa check card. If you never receive or lose your check card YOUR MONEY IS GONE AND THEY CANNOT REPLACE IT. I just got off the phone with a PerkStreet customer service rep because this happened to me. A $50 card never arrived (although I did successfully receive two $100 cards prior to this). I was apologetically told there was nothing they could do. Essentially, someone in their shipping department can take the cards, list them as shipped and you are S.O.L.

    I’m quite pissed.

    For those who do keep your account (I’m going to kill mine), you should take the amazon.com gift cards. The codes are supposedly emailed.

  • http://www.perkstreet.com Brendan Carroll

    Hi Carl,

    I am sorry you did not receive your perks. This is definitely a rare situation and sounds like it could be a mix up on USPS’s end. Occasionally, perks get sent back to our PO Box and we reach out to the customer immediately for address confirmation. If you shoot a message to [email protected] I will investigate.

    I completely understand your concern over shipping theft. We regularly audit our shipping department, and have strict limitations on who has access to perks. We take security very seriously.

    I hope to hear from you soon and get to the bottom of this.

    All the best,

    Brendan Carroll
    Customer Advocate Manager
    PerkStreet Financial

  • http://thegooch.myopenid.com/ TheGooch

    Nice write up and excellent info in the comment section. This review finally explained how cash back rewards are delivered – as VISA gift cards. This kills the deal for me as I use cash back to ‘snowflake’ my savings. Basically, any money I get back from rebates,etc. goes into savings as a little extra boost or reward to myself for finding a good deal. That gives me an extra incentive to find rebates, haha.

    The message I get from Perkstreet is “spend” not “save”, this comes at a time when the US is struggling with massive debt load and defaults on homes and loans. Yes, its a debit card, but the incentive is to spend more to get cash back, and then you get a VISA gift card, which (correct me if I’m wrong) you can only redeem by spending it as opposed to putting it into savings. So you have “spend” and “spend” , I’d rather see “spend” and “save”.

    Nice idea, if they can change their message to “save” I’ll sign up. For now, I’ll just check back periodically to see how things develop.

    • Healthadvoc8

      Gooch–You sound like a Ramsey fan. Me too and I have a solution for your concern that may make it work. Why not ‘trade’ your Visa debit card reward (when it is received)with the cash from one of your envelopes then spend the debit card for the groceries. …Just a thought.

      Good luck with your savings!

      • Davidbakke

        Hey guys,

        Thank you both for you comments–our readers will appreciate it.

  • Fsmith_21

    I have bad credit, so it’s no wonder I wasn’t approved for an account with Perkstreet… but what REALLY bothers me, is that they just sent my funds back to my other account. They never sent me a letter, no email, no phone call. I understand that I probably didn’t meet their requirements but this is the second company that doesn’t even bother to fill me in. If I had better credit, I bet they wouldn’t be able to send me a letter fast enough. Thank you, Perkstreet, for making me feel like less of a person for having bad credit. Dave Ramsey would be dissapointed!

    • Davidbakke

      Fsmith

      Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Looks like they have a little work to do in the area of customer service.

      • highlanderjuan

        I haven’t seen anything from Perkstreet in writing that suggest you have to have good credit in order to have an account opened. There must be something deeper causing this situation.

        If I understand this checking/debit card program, you are always dealing with your own money, so I see the question of credit worthiness as moot and unwarranted.

  • Fsmith_21

    I have bad credit, so it’s no wonder I wasn’t approved for an account with Perkstreet… but what REALLY bothers me, is that they just sent my funds back to my other account. They never sent me a letter, no email, no phone call. I understand that I probably didn’t meet their requirements but this is the second company that doesn’t even bother to fill me in. If I had better credit, I bet they wouldn’t be able to send me a letter fast enough. Thank you, Perkstreet, for making me feel like less of a person for having bad credit. Dave Ramsey would be dissapointed!

  • Erin

    I opened a PerkStreet account a few months ago (after hearing about it on Dave Ramsey), and love it. I generally earn about $40 in perks each month, which is awesome. They send a visa card with $50 on it, which isn’t my favorite (it would be awesome if they could just debit the money into your account), but it’s not a big hassle. I use them when I go grocery shopping, or do something where the bill’s going to be larger than $50 anyway, and get rid of the card in one go. I do wish the transfer limits were bigger, but it’s easy enough to push in money from outside accounts. Overall, the little hassles are no problem considering how much essentially free money I’m getting. I had no trouble signing up, and would highly recommend it.

    • Davidbakke

      Erin

      It seems like this is a love it or hate it kind of thing, but I’m glad it has worked out for you.

  • Brian

    Upon attempting to close my account after I found out that you had to have $5,000 to get the 2% cash back, I was told by a customer representative that I should leave my account open so I could return to it and use the funds if I ever wanted to in the future. 6 months later I realized I would not be using it, called back to cancel the account, and was told I only had $7 left in the account due to an “inactivity fee” of $4.50 a month. After informing Perkstreet what I had been told by the previous customer service representative, I asked for each inactivity fee to be refunded but they refused saying that the $4.50 fee was in the mice type disclosure statement and would be in full force no matter what I was told by a representative. Go with Perkstreet if you want no customer service. Go with a local credit union if you want an actual human to interact with and be understanding.

    • Davidbakke

      There was a CSR that was monitoring this post at one time, as you can see with the other comments. It’s too bad they stopped, because it looks like they still have issues. Thanks for sharing your story.

      • Brian

        Wanted to let you know that they decided to refund all the inactivity fees although they said they could not “substantiate” that it had been suggested I leave the account open for later use. I guess I can’t get the best of everything :-) Thanks to Perkstreet for finally listening to my complaints…

  • Steve

    Really wanted to have good things to say about this company but at this point I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth with Perk Street.

    I received a letter in December from Bancorp Bank (Perkstreet Financial) in December stating that my card ‘may’ have been compromised and that as a result a new card would have to be issued.

    Is this an inconvenience, absolutely. Does it happen in this day and age absolutely.
    As it would happen we were in the process of moving to a new address. Ultimately the card was mailed to this old address, DESPITE my having updated this info online. I found this out after calling them in mid January and speaking to a lady by the name of Trineca (last name omitted). She mentioned the card was mailed to the wrong address and in order to mail a new card, the OLD ONE HAD TO COME BACK TO THEM. My new address was verified and confirmed with her. Having had the card deactivated, my hands were tied.

    I then contacted and communicated with Jason at PerkStreet (the guy posting above) after I found his info at a forum. I was given the obligatory apologies and such and assured that a new card would be mailed out. Turns out it was, to the WRONG ADDRESS AGAIN. He confirmed this via email and assured me a card would “We’ll make sure to get a card out to the proper address ASAP” Meanwhile 1 week later and no card.

    Put simply, I am downright disgusted with PerkStreets lack of followup and action on a situation that is of their own doing. I cannot make purchases via debit card.

    Secondly, the monthly transfer limit is a joke ($1500) and part of the small print they do not care to put clearly forward. None of their representatives can give a clear answer on the algorithm or mystery of how it is increased, but only respond by stating that “The transfer limit will go up automatically through a combination of time and usage. ” Several months later and I have yet to see that increase and am forced to use checks to effectively get money from one institution to another.

    They state that its to prevent fraud (in the roundabout jargon legalese) . Having a hard time rationalizing how fraud can occur when the funds that are transferred to them are coming from a bank. Ultimately, they are effectively limiting what I can do with my money that sits in their account.

    Lastly, they do not offer a business account. Although this may seem trivial. I see it as a big weakness.

    Really loved the concept and wanted it to work but after this fiasco, not a fan. For the record as of the timestamp on this comment, I have yet to receive my new card.

    • Davidbakke

      Looks like the commentary here is much more negative than positive. Sorry about your experience, but thanks for sharing.

  • Steve

    Really wanted to have good things to say about this company but at this point I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth with Perk Street.

    I received a letter in December from Bancorp Bank (Perkstreet Financial) in December stating that my card ‘may’ have been compromised and that as a result a new card would have to be issued.

    Is this an inconvenience, absolutely. Does it happen in this day and age absolutely.
    As it would happen we were in the process of moving to a new address. Ultimately the card was mailed to this old address, DESPITE my having updated this info online. I found this out after calling them in mid January and speaking to a lady by the name of Trineca (last name omitted). She mentioned the card was mailed to the wrong address and in order to mail a new card, the OLD ONE HAD TO COME BACK TO THEM. My new address was verified and confirmed with her. Having had the card deactivated, my hands were tied.

    I then contacted and communicated with Jason at PerkStreet (last name omitted) after I found his info at a forum. I was given the obligatory apologies and such and assured that a new card would be mailed out. Turns out it was, to the WRONG ADDRESS AGAIN. He confirmed this via email and assured me a card would “We’ll make sure to get a card out to the proper address ASAP” Meanwhile 1 week later and no card.

    Put simply, I am downright disgusted with PerkStreets lack of followup and action on a situation that is of their own doing. I cannot make purchases via debit card.

    Secondly, the monthly transfer limit is a joke ($1500) and part of the small print they do not care to put clearly forward. None of their representatives can give a clear answer on the algorithm or mystery of how it is increased, but only respond by stating that “The transfer limit will go up automatically through a combination of time and usage. ” Several months later and I have yet to see that increase and am forced to use checks to effectively get money from one institution to another.

    They state that its to prevent fraud (in the roundabout jargon legalese) . Having a hard time rationalizing how fraud can occur when the funds that are transferred to them are coming from a bank. Ultimately, they are effectively limiting what I can do with my money that sits in their account.

    Lastly, they do not offer a business account. Although this may seem trivial. I see it as a big weakness.

    Really loved the concept and wanted it to work but after this fiasco, not a fan.

  • highlanderjuan

    David, thanks for writing a timely and well researched report on Perkstreet Financial.

    I’ve read a lot of reviews and comments below, and many of them are years old. Startup problems can be very tough for any business, especially a business trying to do something different in a very regulated industry, like banking.

    David, is it time to re-review this bank, and maybe compare its operations to another bank like Ally? Are there any other significant changes in banking that are being addressed by other startups?

  • Tammy

    I should’ve known this was too good to be true. I opened an acct with Perkstreet and the entire process took almost a month! Docs were lost. Mail system was slow etc. Not to mention I tried adding my hubby on as a join acct holder and he was denied! Not sure what the criteria is for opening up an acct but his credit is 10x better than mine. Reasons they stated he was denied were laughable. We both have accts with several large banks and he has never had an issue opening an acct. And Perkstreet won’t handle your objections personally you have to contact Chex systems. It is a total pain in the butt. Regret that I ever heard of Perk Street.

  • Moe Amin Moazeni

    this is the worst bank i have ever had an account with. First of all when you call the number they have listed you get someone that have no idea what they are talking about, they just about every time had to call me back or the customer service will tell you i have no answers.

    I mailed a check to make a deposit it took 7 days to show up in my account then they put 7 days hold on it as well.

    I had forgetting my password, the customer service could not reset my password. i called back 5 more times to finally get one that could reset my password.

    Every time i called i was on hold an average of 15 minutes.

    the worst of all THEY DECIDED TO CLOSE my account for no reason , i asked why they told me i do not fit in their customer profile and i need to go to a real bank. OMG are you not a real bank.

    lastly my REAL bank CHASE would not honor PerkStreet Financial check, they told me they have to call the PerkStreet Financial because they are not a full service bank

  • momcat64

    Perkstreet account holders, BEWARE! Make sure that when you contact the bank to close your account, you also tell them to close your debit card and cancel overdraft protection.

    Failure to do so in my case resulted in a debit card transaction being honored AFTER I requested closure of my Perkstreet checking account because the overdraft protection was still in force and the debit card was still active – despite my checking account being “closed”!! I had called Perkstreet’s customer service to close my checking account. During the course of this telephone conversation, Perkstreet’s rep did not tell me I needed to close the debit card and cancel overdraft protection as well. I didn’t know any better, and assumed that a closed account meant everything pertaining to the checking account was closed, including debit card and overdraft protection.

    After I requested closure of my checking account, Perkstreet paid an online purchase transaction of -$75.00, then hit my account for a -$32.00 non-sufficient funds fee which put my checking account a total of -$107.00 in the hole. Somehow, my Perkstreet debit card had become the default payment method for my health insurance company’s mail-order prescription service. It had not been the default previously, and I have no idea how the change occurred. My prescription service recently underwent an acquisition and updated their website which resulted in multiple login and information issues, so perhaps the payment default change happened as a part of that mess. Or maybe I did change it awhile back to earn more Perks and I just plain forgot. I’m not sure.

    So now Perkstreet wants me to send them $107.00 to put the account balance back to zero. I’m not inclined to do so, seeing as how I lost $97.00 in Perks Rewards when they announced the bank’s closure. However, I was told today by Perkstreet customer service that if I do not deposit the $107.00 then my account will remain open and future purchases would be honored. I told her to cancel my debit card and overdraft protection, making it clear that I do not want any future transactions to be honored. Ever.

    The Perkstreet rep said they didn’t find out about the Perks Rewards being cancelled until the FDIC informed them. Not exactly sure what that means, but okay, I get it the whole situation was not this particular employee’s fault. I replied, “Someone in your company knew long BEFORE the closure and Perks rewards cancellation announcements were made that a problem existed. It was dishonest of Perkstreet to fail to notify their customers and give us the opportunity to claim our earned Perks in a timely fashion. I feel like your company ripped me off of nearly $100, so I am not inclined to reimburse it for the transaction and accompanying fees that never should have been applied to my account in the first place.”

    I’ll probably wind up with a ding on my credit report, but I’m okay with that since I don’t do debt anyway.

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