Get more value out of your everyday purchases with a rewards debit card.
A rewards debit card is linked to your transaction account and is a tool to help you earn rewards. Reward programs can vary, starting from the Qantas frequent flyer program, to the Citibank Wine when you Dine program, to the ING Direct Cash Back system. Others include discounts on flights and shopping.
When you want to join a reward program without the stress of accumulating interest, a rewards debit card could be the solution.
Your reward debit card options below
Aussies are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a reward system that suits your needs. Compare your options in the table below.
How do I get rewards from my debit card in Australia?
When you open a rewards transaction account with an Australian bank or financial institution, you will be issued a debit card to help with making purchases and withdrawing funds. Your debit card will typically be linked to either the MasterCard or Visa network.
The card is automatically linked to a rewards program – allowing you to earn or redeem the particular reward. For example, you need to use your Citibank debit card at a participating restaurant to get your free bottle of wine.
finder.com.au breaks down the individual reward programs in Australia
Cash back on purchases
You could save up to $520 every year using 2% cash back on purchases.
Qantas frequent flyer program
As a frequent flyer member you can travel in a world of rewards. Earn Qantas points and status credits the more you spend or fly and redeem them for upgrades, tickets, booking hotels, car hire and over 3,000 products in the online Qantas store. Click here to learn more about the program.
Citibank free wine every tine you dine program
When you hold a Citibank debit card, all you need to do is mention that you're a Citibank cardholder at participating restaurants, choose your free bottle from the selection and pay for your meal with the Citibank card.
home&Away Privilege Program
You'll get access to exclusive shopping offers at over 1,500 retailers. From travel and leisure, to shopping, health and beauty – you'll get access to a range of discounts and free prizes when you use your HSBC debit card at the checkout.
What types of rewards can I get in Australia?
In order to receive the most value from your transaction account rewards program, it is important that analyse what rewards will benefit you most. These will include such things as:
- Points to dollar ratio. Check to see how many points you are earning for every dollar that you spend.
- Bonus points. Some programs will give you bonus points for using your reward debit card while shopping with their partners, or even just having a balance in your account.
- Cashback offers. Carefully read the terms and conditions to make sure you’re eligible for the cashback. Typically you’ll get 5% back of a purchase amount.
- Prizes. In some cases you can win prizes for making a transaction too.
Points are typically more beneficial for frequent flyers whereas cashback offers tend to be more beneficial for those who don’t travel much. Many frequent flyer programs let you redeem points from a partner airline. Prizes are an added bonus and can suit any type of rewards recipient.
How do I compare debit cards that offer rewards?
- Fees. Check to see if you are going to have to pay any monthly or annual fees for the use of your reward debit card.
- Joint accounts. You can increase your point earning potential if the bank allows additional cards to be issued for the same account.
- ATM access. Although cash withdrawals are usually not a part of the rewards program, you will still want to be able to easily access funds without having to pay extra fees.
- Daily limits. Look closely to ensure that you are not limited in how much you can purchase daily using your reward debit card.
Are there any benefits or drawbacks to using a rewards transaction account?
- There is usually no annual or monthly fee (if there is, you can usually avoid it). Unlike reward credit cards, reward debit cards generally don't charge a monthly fee, or you can deposit your salary into the account to have the monthly fee waived.
- Your credit rating doesn't matter. Unlike a credit card, you don’t have to worry about being turned down for a reward debit card due to your credit history.
- Don't need to worry about accumulating debt. Since the money is being withdrawn from your available funds, you are not accumulating any debt by making purchases with a reward debit card.
- You earn reward points. Your everyday shopping expenditures will be adding up points towards rewards.
- You receive an average return. Debit cards typically have a lower earn rate and there are a few restrictions around cash back. It may not necessarily be the best value in terms of redeeming rewards, but at least you're using your own money and avoiding an annual fee.
- You may need to worry about merchant charges. With some purchases the merchant may charge an additional fee for a debit card transaction.
- The program may have spending limitations. You are limited with the amount of money you can spend by what is available in your transaction account.
What are the risks?
Not only is a reward debit card linked to a rewards account, it is also a direct line to the funds available in your transaction account. You should always keep that in mind to avoid the following:
- Don't get too carried away. Having the same ability to make purchases as you would with a credit card, you could be tempted to spend money on items that you normally wouldn’t.
The questions you never thought to ask
What types of rewards can I earn with a reward debit card?
The exact rewards will depend on the bank with which you open the rewards transaction account.
Are you charged extra for online purchases?
The merchant may add a surcharge to the transaction. Also note that if the purchase is with an overseas based retailer you may also have to pay an international transaction fee.
How do I know how many points I am earning?
You should be set up with a rewards account that tracks your points earned and gives you access to the various rewards available to you.