There are plenty of rewards programs out there from credit card cash back rewards, to Swagbucks which rewards you for using their Internet search engine to Ebates‘ rewards for buying through their website. Reward programs are not new, but there are new rewards that are being offered.
SmarterBucks is a new reward program that has a very specific use for the rewards–to pay down student loan debt.
Considering that the average college graduate leaves college with over $25,000 in student loan debt, this may be a worthwhile program to use to pay down student loan debt a bit faster.
Of course, SmarterBucks is not promising that you will get out of debt in half the time using their program, but you could get out of student loan debt a few months earlier. Remember, every extra payment that you can make helps cut the overall amount of interest and length of time you will need to pay.
If you have multiple student loans, you designate what student loan you want to focus on and have the extra money applied to.
Ways to Earn SmarterBucks Rewards
There are several different ways to earn SmarterBucks rewards.
1. Use the Marketplace.
SmarterBucks has partnered up with hundreds of retailers to offer you rewards. Simply log into SmarterBucks and access the retailer’s website through SmarterBucks’ website.
For every purchase you make in the SmarterBucks Marketplace, you can earn 10% or more in rewards. Rewards also change frequently, so if you don’t see a retailer you are looking for, they may be available the next week or month.
There is a dashboard that lets you see your SmarterBucks balance, so you can see how close you are to your reward pay out with every purchase you make.
2. Open a SmarterBank checking account and use the Visa debit card.
SmarterBucks offers SmarterBank services. These services are provided by the Bancorp Bank, which is FDIC insured.
The checking account has no fees and does not have a minimum balance requirement. (A free checking account is increasingly difficult to find, so that does make this offer more attractive.) As long as your account is active, there are no monthly fees, but there are fees for offenses such as bouncing a check. (You can get a full list of fees here.)
For every non-pin purchase (signature required) under $100 that you make with your SmarterBank Visa Debit Card, you will earn .5% in rewards points. Purchases over $100 will earn .5% on the first $100 and 1% on the remainder. If you purchase a $400 airline ticket, for example, you will receive $3.50 in rewards (.50 for the first $100 and $3 for the other $300).
To earn rewards even faster, you can use the SmarterBank Visa Debit Card to make purchases in the SmarterBucks Marketplace. You’ll then earn rewards for both using the debit card and making a purchase through the Marketplace.
3. Ask others to contribute.
If you feel comfortable with this, you can ask others to make contributions on your behalf. They can make one time payments such as for Christmas or your birthday, or they can set up recurring payments that will be applied to your student loan. The minimum contribution is $15, and the maximum is $250.
Is SmarterBucks Right for Me?
If you have student loan debt, and most new graduates do, SmarterBucks might be a program worth investigating. Every little bit that you can apply to your debt helps you to pay it down faster.
SmarterBucks in conjunction with SmarterBank may be yet another way you can find additional money to apply to your debt. Another nice feature of the SmarterBank Visa Debit Card is that it isn’t a credit card, so you aren’t accruing any new debt while paying off debt.
Have you tried SmarterBucks? Would you be interested in trying it out?
Last Edited: 21st March 2013