Image of two people high-fiving

Debit Card Rewards Programs Exist — Here's What You Need to Know

**Breaking news** debit card rewards programs exist!

The rumors are true, and we’re excited to spill the tea. To us, “reward program” is almost as exciting as “free,” and if you do your research, the two can sometimes be synonymous.

You can unlock a new level of financial responsibility by understanding rewards programs. Let us upgrade you:

What Are Rewards Programs?

Rewards programs are what they sound like, and we’re sure that you’ve been asked to enroll in a few. Businesses value you as a customer, and they want to reward you for repetitively giving them business, so they create rewards programs. 

Rewards programs come in a multitude of forms; for starters, there are:

  • Loyalty punch cards: These are the programs that let you get your tenth Po’boy free after you buy nine.
  • Cashback: The infamous cashback situation; this is when you spend $100 or so and get $3 back.
  • Points program: This is the fun system where your purchases earn rewards points that you get to redeem on qualifying items.

If you frequently use a product or service, you should inquire about the possibility of earning rewards for your purchases. By enrolling in rewards programs, you can get something in return for being a loyal customer.

Credit Cards & Rewards

Credit cards are notorious for offering rewards. Banks often implement cash back rewards and points earning programs to entice you to use your credit card more often. The more you spend on your card, the more rewards you can earn. 

Different cards offer different programs, and you can use this to your advantage. 

Some banks transfer your cashback directly to your bank account, whereas others apply the earned amount to your financial statements. The most common points program is designed for traveling miles, getting you your free flights to Punta Cana.

Rewards are great, but be wary. Rewards are meant to entice you to spend more, making for a slippery slope towards overspending. Being rewarded for spending may sound great, but if you’re not aware of your budget and the dangers of swiping, debt is not much of a reward now, is it?

Dreamy Debit Cards

By now, you may have noticed that your bank would prefer you spend with your credit card than your debit card *sips tea*. Banks are more profitable when you’re borrowing money from them for many reasons.

Because of credit cards’ overwhelming emphasis on their rewards programs, many people don’t realize that debit cards also offer rewards. Extra’s debit card is one of those dreamy, unicorn ones that rewards you for being a responsible spender. 

Extra is the first debit card that builds credit and earns rewards points just like a credit card. A cash back debit card? Debit card points? Credit building? Who knew? 


Spoiler alert, Extra users did.

Yes, with the Extra debit card, every purchase builds your credit and earns you rewards. The Extra rewards program lets you earn up to 1% in points for everyday purchases like rideshares, coffees, and phone bills. 

Once you’ve racked them up, you can spend your points on gratifying rewards in Extra’s rewards store. Hook yourself up with AirPods or gift cards without the guilt of misguided spending.

You can quickly start the rewards game by connecting your bank account with your Extra card. Every time you swipe your Extra card, you’re spending the money in your cash account, meaning you’ll never find worth in going into debt just to earn a reward.

Debit vs. Credit Rewards

Your key takeaway about the difference between a debit and credit card rewards program is that one isn’t designed to put you into debt. Credit cards reward you for spending their money, whereas debit cards reward you for spending your money.

Not to villainize credit cards, but often they are the bad guys in your financial story.

Are Rewards Really Worth It?

Rewards have their ups and downs. Sometimes, participating in a program can benefit a business, institution, or bank more than it helps you, but if you’re conscious about your involvement, you can always be the one coming up on top.

When Wouldn’t a Rewards Program Be “Worth It”?

If you find yourself shopping at one location more than you naturally would just to earn rewards, then you may want to reconsider. Why? Because you’re not actually being rewarded for being a customer, you’re being enticed to spend more. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Say in one month, you typically get a craving for Po’ boys four times, but because you want to get your nine punches (for the serotonin boost), you end up spending more at the Po’boy shop than you typically would.

Or

One month, your credit card offers 5% cash back rewards when you shop at Amazon or Target. You don’t even like Amazon or Target, and now you’re giving them money that you don’t even have just to get your “reward.”

Rewards programs can be persuasive and enticing, putting you in a position to spend more with a particular business than the reward is worth. Be careful with your spending and ask yourself, am I being rewarded or enticed?

When Is a Reward Program Worth It?

Rewards programs are worth it when you’re not falling into a marketing ploy. If you love Po’ boys but are also good about eating at other places and not overspending just for the punch, then a loyalty punch card is excellent to have.

Rewards programs are also a great strategic asset. You may have been planning on purchasing a cookware set at Macy’s in the next couple of weeks. If you see the same set at Target for the same price, where you’ll get 5% cashback, you should get your set at Target.

Again, make sure that a reward program rewards you rather than takes advantage of you.

What You Should Look For In Rewards Programs

You should always look for rewards programs that fit your natural spending habits. If you frequently shop somewhere, are planning on buying a big-ticket item, or would find yourself more likely to purchase something with points rather than cash, rewards programs are gold.

Here are a few things you should ask yourself before spending for the sake of a reward:

  • Was I going to purchase this anyway?
  • Am I making this purchase to earn points?
  • Am I working for this reward, or can I make this program work for me?

Rewards are most beneficial when they 1. fit in with your spending habits, and 2. are strategically working for you.

We designed the Extra rewards program to benefit you. Extra rewards you for spending as you typically do, not for switching stores or brands or spending more than usual. 

With Extra, you can use your points strategically. You may not have enough cash in your account for AirPods, but as long as you keep buying Po’boys and toothpaste, you’ll eventually have the points to get the reward you want.

In our opinion, debit card rewards programs are super underrated. Debit cards always work in your favor, and never take advantage of your finances. Always, always, always look for programs that work for you.

Stay in the loop