Approximately a year ago I decided to take the plunge into online banking. After researching several possibilities I began looking into online banking from virtual banks. When comparing the service charges and other charges I would accrue while banking with a local bank and using their online services, I discovered that if I chose a virtual banking option, I could potentially save a significant amount of money. The question then became whether I felt safe dealing with a bank that had no local branch and if I could trust their customer service. Also, would the benefits truly be what they appeared to be?
I spent a fair amount of time researching my different options and at the time Perkstreet Financial was getting the best reviews for their money back programs referred to as “perks.” The fees associated with their bank were significantly less than those at local banks. My final choice ultimately came down to the ease of the application and setup process. I noticed right away that the guidelines were simple and straight forward and I did not have to wade through pages of complicated instructions. After they verified my existing account, I was able to have funds directly transferred and the direct deposit option was simple and hassle free.
My first experience with their customer service department was an inquisition on my part to make sure I understood exactly how their program worked. I found I had minimum wait times and their customer service department was cordial and extremely helpful, never seeming to be frustrated at verifying their corporation’s claims. The customer service department is open 24 hours a day and this has proven to be an excellent advantage for me.
I settled with Perkstreet financial and have been more than just satisfied with my choice. My checks, debit card, and other information arrived within days and I was able to immediately start using my account. I admit I moved my money over to the account a little at the time to make sure I understood the process for different transactions and to test their security measures. I transferred funds and watched to make sure I knew the exact wait times for these transactions to post and to be available. My wait times with the bank are almost nonexistent for such things as direct deposit and transferring of funds. their debit card is accepted anywhere and in an entire year I have had no problems with magnetic strips going bad or with any online transactions that involve my debit card. ATMs for the card are readily available.
Besides transferring of funds and direct deposit, Perkstreet Financial offers a few other options for depositing money or checks into your account. They offer a free deposit of checks through UPS stores. The deposit is guaranteed within a business day of the deposit except on holidays (which is the same for local banking in my town.) A simple form is needed to complete the deposit and this form is provided in the welcome packet. The form can also be downloaded from their website. Depositing money or checks is a little more complicated for me than for most because I live in a small town and do not have access to a UPS store. I do not have many checks that need depositing so this was not a tremendous problem. It is something to consider if you have a lot of checks to deposit and do not have a UPS store near you. A way to get around this method of depositing checks is to keep a local account open and deposit and transfer money from it. I have opted to do this but do not use my local account for anything else.
For depositing cash money, Perkstreet Financial offers a fee free service through the Walmart money wiring department. Again, a simple form is needed to complete the transaction. Be aware that the deposit of the cash money is instantaneous and Walmart will verify that the deposit was completed before you leave their store. However, this process does have a wait time. It is usually four business days, excluding holidays, before the money is available in your account. If I had one criticism of the whole banking experience with Perkstreet, it would be this service. I have learned to adjust my banking and bill paying habits so that I rarely, if ever, have to use this service. Again, this process can be eliminated if you decide to keep a local account open just for emergency transfer of funds from cash and check deposits.
One of the most convenient services Perkstreet Financial provides is the up to date online account information. Immediately when I use my debit card, I can pull it up and view my transactions online. If I have to make several purchases during a day or evening, I don’t have to worry about keeping up with my exact balance. I know that my account information is current and when I get home I can pull it up. There have even been times I wanted to double check my spending and I conveniently pull up my current balance on my phone. This has prevented any oversights and eliminated overdraft mistakes or fees.
The “perks” really do add up. If you use your debit card as a credit card, you will receive a 2 percent cash back bonus for the first several months. It later drops to 1 percent, which was a bit of a let down. The percentage goes up if you keep certain daily balances. Also, every month the company offers 5 percent cashback at certain stores (these are voted on by the consumers) and for certain online purchases. These change each month so you have a good chance of having a month that highlights a store you shop in regularly. The percentage back is kept up in points and these can be redeemed for cash back into your account or can be redeemed for gift cards. The points add up rather quickly and they do make a difference if you use this system like a savings account and only cash in your perks when you truly need them.
Overall my experience with Perkstreet banking has been outstanding. It provides me with opportunities to earn cash back, offers decreased service charges, and gives me up to date information on my account. The customer service has been excellent and my wait times are minimal. Truthfully, I have not experienced any problems so far and I have found paying my bills and keeping up with my account are much simpler and more efficient.