Posted by William Charles on December 6, 2018
Bank Account Bonuses

Published on December 6th, 2018 | by William Charles


Green Dot Bank $100 Checking Bonus + 5% Back On Purchases (Up To $250 Cashback) – Nationwide (Excludes VT)

Offer at a glance

  • Maximum bonus amount: $100
  • Availability: Nationwide excluding Vermont
  • Direct deposit required: No
  • Additional requirements: See below
  • Hard/soft pull: Unknown
  • ChexSystems: Unknown
  • Credit card funding: Unknown
  • Monthly fees: $9.95
  • Early account termination fee: None listed
  • Household limit: None listed
  • Expiration date: Must make a debit card purchase by 12/31/2018

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Green Dot bank is offering a bonus of $100 when you open a new account and complete the following requirements:
    • Make a purchase with your Green Dot debit card by 12/31/2018
    • Use the Green Dot debit card at least once every month in each month of 2019
  • Card also earns 5% back on purchases, up to $250 annually


The Fine Print

  • Prepaid cards are not available to Vermont residents.
  • All bank account bonuses are treated as income/interest and as such you have to pay taxes on them

Avoiding Fees

Monthly Fees

This account has a $9.95 monthly fee that cannot be waived

Early Account Termination Fee

I see no mention of an early account termination fee here. But it looks like your account needs to be kept open for at least 12 months to be eligible to redeem the cash back

Our Verdict

The $100 bonus is more than wiped out by the $9.95 monthly fee that cannot be waived. The real deal is the 5% back with a limit of $250 cash back (spend $5,000 to hit that) seems like a great deal if this is a soft pull. Keep in mind Green Dot is known for shutting down manufactured spending people, so I’d only want to put organic spend on this card.

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I pay rent with Venmo. Would I risk shutdown if I were to use this GreenDot card for that?

Tried this, but it could not verify my SSN and birthdate?

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

“Your account must be open for 12 months and in good standing with a positive balance in order to claim your cash back.”

William Charles So looks like you’re down $120 if you cancel right after 12 months.

The 12 months applies to the 5% earned, in addition to the $100 bonus? That’s unfortunate.

$100 bonus + $250 from 5% – 12*$9.95 fee = $230.60, so it’s 4.6% cashback on $5000 spending. Or a little less if you have to pay a monthly fee in December.

I wouldn’t think that the $100 bonus would be taxed (it seems more like cashback than a bank bonus to me), but I’m not sure.

It’s weird that the fine print on the Get a Card page says “Your cash back balance automatically grows with every purchase made with your card, up to a maximum reward of $100 per year.” That seems to conflict with the $250 mentioned elsewhere.

I think I’d rather take my chances on applying for the capital one savor card and get $500 sign up bonus for $3000 in spend and then downgrade the card.

Apples to oranges.

Cap1: HP and New account
Greendot: NO HP, Not a new account, No chex hit

So your comment makes no sense. Why would you get one instead of the other, or both? Also, if we are going to compare 2 completely different things, why the sh***y savor card?

To add, crap1 does three HPs, not just one

That fee sucks. Not worth the risk when it’s at their discretion to shut you down.

Why is vermont excluded?

If I remember right, they have a consumer protection law that bans prepaid cards.

Can you deposit MOs into a GreenDot account?

So once you’re through the first year you can redeem all cashback anytime correct?

Keep 13-14 Months.

$500 in Cashback ($250 for each year.)
+$100 bonus. Not horrible considering this doesn’t report to your credit.
-$140 in monthly fees.
-$110 in Liquidation fees

=$350 Profit.

Not bad since it doesn’t hit your credit, but with the MS sensitivity, I doubt you could run 5K in the last 2 months. Might have to keep for 15-16 months. With the 5% on all purchases it doesn’t really make sense to use for MS at all.

Careful, please read their terms and conditions. It is 5% cash back ONLY on “qualifying purchase” , which is not clearly defined. They do say online bill payments are not qualifying purchases.

Accrued Cash back can only be redeemed once per year at the end of each reward year. So you’re paying $120 in fees each year in advance before you can redeem the once a year redemption. So no, they don’t allow you to redeem the 2nd year cash back until you’ve prepaid another $120 monthly fees.

Your first year cash back rate jumps to 4.6% after maxing this out and factoring in the $100 bonus.

Your true ongoing cash back rate is 2.6% after factoring in the monthly account fees AND assuming you max out this.

You must spend more than $3980 per year on this card to come out on top compared to something like the citi doublecash.

In other words, this is worth it the first year but not after that.

Do you have to run your transaction as credit or do you still get 5 back if you use your PIN? Hmm.

There actually might be a way to avoid the monthly fee.

This is a prepaid card, and all prepaid accounts are unique in that the cannot be overdrafted. Meaning if they try to bill you a 9.95 fee when your account balance is zero, then they wont have anything to bill you and your account is free for the month. This is how i keep my amex serve cards fee free. I keep the balance at zero at all times so serve cannot assess a fee.

The big question here is does the balance have to be positive at the time of awarding the $100, or does it have to be positive the ENTIRE 12 months? The former situation means you can get away without paying monthly fees by keeping your account at zero as much as possible. The latter situation means you have to pay fees.

Edit: yes, it looks like this will work as per the terms!

“and must have a positive balance as of 12/31/19”

As in as long as your account has a positive balance before then, you only have to pay a single monthly fee in december!

This changes things drastically. I will be trying out.

William Charles update your post to include this. It could be valuble.

You’d have to pay all those monthly fees to bring your account back up to positive.

Everybody: please read Green Dot’s entire terms and conditions, especially pay close attention to their fees and cash back section before jumping into this one. Seems like a highly restrictive prepaid debit card (Similar to Mango), many many fees.

Consider the opportunity cost of leaving your direct deposit balance sitting there not earning interest, but rather paying Green Dot many many fees.

Definitely figure out ahead of time what a “qualifying purchase” is.

Best case scenario is for somebody who has a major qualifying purchase around November 2019. Works out to max of $220 net cash back on $5,000:

Dec 2018: open card, pay activation fee? Deposit about $140, pay deposit fee?

Jan 2019- Oct 2019: reload Amazon .50 each month once, pay the 9.95 monthly fee each month to maintain good standing.

Nov 2019: Deposit $5,000, pay deposit fee?
Then make 2 Separate daily 2,500 charges at Home Depot for qualifying purchase items (do appliances count?), since they have a $3,000 daily limit.

Dec 2019: redeem $250 cash back on the $5,000 Home Depot qualifying purchases.

Redeem $100 sign on “bonus”, or file CFPB complaint.

Jan 2020: drain all balances, pay final 9.95 monthly fee, close account.

This “deal” is only worthwhile for somebody with a known $5000 qualifying purchase that’s taking place in November 2019.

Does anyone else having any issues linking Green Dot so they can push money to it? I just tried PNC and Cash App and both said the routing number said is invalid.

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