Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Discover Checking- Targeted Offer

I've had a Discover card for many years, and, frankly, I keep it for only three reasons: 1) no annual fee, 2) it's my oldest account; and 3) the occasionally useful 5% cashback offers.  Now, it appears that Discover is getting into the banking game in a more concrete way.  Today I received an apparently targeted offer to sign up for a Discover checking/debit account.  It's advertised as "no monthly fees (no balance or activity requirements)."  That's nice, but I already have a checking account.

So, why would I even consider this account?  Discover Cash Back.  I mean, I've got to pay fuel surcharges and taxes somehow, right?  So, I was very intrigued to see that Discover is offering cash back in connection with this checking/debit account.  Specifically, the offer is 10 cents per debit purchase, 10 cents per online bill pay, and 10 cents per check written.  That really got my gears turning.    1000 $1 Amazon payments?  10,000 10 cent Amazon payments?  How long could I possibly last before an account shutdown for "perk abuse?"

I'm guessing the answer is "not long."  Looking at the sign-up website, I see this in the FAQ:

"Can I earn more rewards by splitting up my normal bill payments or debit card transactions?

Your bill payments, debit card transactions and checks are rewarded for normal everyday transactions. As noted in the Deposit Account Agreement, we reserve the right to adjust the amount of your rewards or close your account due to irregular, unauthorized or fraudulent activity in your Checking Account. For example, splitting up one standard monthly bill payment into several payments to receive $0.10 per payment is deemed as irregular activity as it's not standard bill payment practice. Same holds true for debit card transactions. Asking a merchant to swipe your debit card repeatedly for each item at checkout instead of using your debit card to make a complete purchase of items at one time is recognized as manufacturing transactions and not normal everyday debit card behavior."

I guess  Discover learned something from the Citi Thank You point debacle.  Anyway, it might be interesting to find out where the "irregular activity" line lies.

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