By Candice Choi, AP Personal Finance Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Credit cards aren't the only way you can earn rewards.
Several banks now let shoppers earn points or cash rebates with debit cards as well. The rewards may not be as rich as under credit card programs, however. And there are some trade-offs to keep in mind.
To start, debit card programs often require you to sign for purchases, rather than punch in a PIN code. This is because banks earn more in retailer fees for signature purchases. Cashiers don't always ask how shoppers prefer to pay, so you'd have to make a point of requesting the option.
Some programs also have annual fees, and it can be tricky determining if they're worthwhile. The value of reward points varies from bank to bank, as will other terms.
Here's a snapshot of what four major banks offer.
Bank of America
Bank of America offers a couple of rewards debit cards. Its programs with US Airways and Alaska Air come with a $30 annual fee, and offer 1 mile for every $2 spent. A Nascar card offers 1 point for every $4 spent, and it's free if you sign up online.All debit transactions qualify for points, regardless of whether they're signature or PIN purchases.
Customers can also enroll in the bank's "Keep the Change" rewards program, as long as you have a Bank of America checking and savings account. The setup is a bit complicated, however.
Purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference is transferred to your savings account. The bank matches 100% of transfers for the first three months, and 5% thereafter. Matches are capped at $250 a year.
Annual Fee: Varies.