Photo: Bank of America
As a Bank of America customer, I put up with the threat of a $35 fee for overdrawing my account; a savings account that barely earns enough annual interest to buy a morning latte; and surcharges each time I use an out-of-network ATM.And as of last week, it also means I get paid for hitting up my favourite happy hour spot.
Bank of America has launched BankAmeriDeals, a service that gives customers the option to shop or dine at a range of retailers in exchange for cash back rewards.
Here’s how it works:
When you log on to your Bank of America account, you’ll see a separate tab for the deals (look for the bright blue “Cash Back Deals” banner). When I signed in, I found 36 discount offers from various retailers under my account, although it likely varies by customer.
The service is run via Cardlytics, a company that specialises in transaction-driven marketing. That means in a slightly creep way, Cardlytics analyses your shopping habits and decides which deals to tack onto your account based on where you swipe. When I spoke with a Cardlytics representative last year, she assured me all customer information never leaves the bank’s protection.
Looking over my own deals now, only a handful of the retailers are places I’ve actually shopped at over the last few months, but one of them just happens to be a bar near my office that I frequent for happy hour.
Since it caught my eye, I clicked “Redeem.” That loaded the deal onto my account and the next time I stop by for a drink, I’ll earn 15 per cent back on my purchase.
The deals also expire after a set number of days (from three to 36 days in my case).
Of course, you can opt out of the service if you so choose. There’s also an option to receive email alerts each time a deal has been redeemed so you can keep track.
-You pay full price at the register and only receive cash back rewards in a monthly lump sum deposit.
-You can’t choose to deposit earnings into your savings account. For now it’s checking or credit accounts only, though it is possible to manually shift funds to savings if you so choose.
-Per a company statement, BankAmeriDeals is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users but hasn’t yet been rolled out for Androids, Kindle Fire or Windows Phone.
-Is it enough to keep me from switching to a credit union or community bank with better fee terms down the road? Probably not. But for now, I’ll enjoy the perks.