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As you all know, I absolutely love Amex Sync Offers – free money for every day purchases! Well, there is a new-ish type of card that can give you a similar deal – Chime. Chime is a Visa Debit card that you must apply for and upon using it at certain merchants (as a regular debit card transaction), you will receive money back! Unlike Amex Offers, however, you do not need to “sync” your card. All Chime offers are available via the Chime app and are available to everyone who uses the Chime card.
The Chime Card also has two types of offers:
- Statement credit: Spend the required amount at a participating merchant and you’ll earn a statement on your Chime card account. For example, Spend $50 at Bed Bath and Beyond, get a $5 statement credit.
- Instant credit: Free money to spend at a participating merchant. For example, get $3 instant credit at Subway. This means you can use your Chime card and spend up to $3 at Subway and Chime is essentially footing the bill. Any amount spent above the $3 in this example will then come out of your Chime account. These are great offers as you technically do not have to spend any of your own money if you do not want to!
Chime is a debit card where you must apply and enter your SS#. This is a soft inquiry meaning it will not affect your credit score in anyway, although it might be recorded on your credit report. Soft inquires happen, for example, if an employer checks your credit report as a background check, if you receive a “pre-approval” offer from a credit card, if you pull your own credit score, etc. Sometimes, such as a “pre-approval”, soft inquiries happen without you even knowing or giving your permission, so they really aren’t a big deal.
To Apply For a Chime Card:
- Apply here. You will also currently receive $1.00 back on your first purchase. This is a referral link where we will both receive $10 after you load your card with $50. If you already have a Chime card feel free to leave your personal referral link in the comments section below. This offer expires September 30, 2014, although I am sure another offer will come around.
- If approved, you will receive your Chime card in the mail where you will need to activate it and set up a 4-digit pin. Since it is a debit card, you’ll need to use this 4-digit pin at some merchants.
- In the meantime, you can set up your account online, download the Chime app, and fund your card. You can find your card via debit card (gift cards do no work), Bank or PayPal transfer, or Direct Deposit. If you use a debit card that earns you points or miles or the PayPal debit card, for example, this could be an opportunity to double dip with getting the points/miles/cash back plus the statement credit deal! With debit cards, however, you are limited to $200 load/day.
Unloading your Money and Fees:
- If there is no activity on your card for 180 you will be charged $5. An activity can be as simple as a $1 purchase or a $1 transfer from PayPal, but there still needs to be some activity. A $5 fee can add up so make sure to remember this!
- You can withdraw your money at an ATM (up to $500/day) but there is a $2.50 fee per transaction on domestic ATMs. You might also incur a fee from the ATM provider directly.
- This is not a card to use internationally as there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. Personally, I would only use this at merchants were I can receive free money or a statement credit. For me, this is the only purpose of the card.
Getting on the deal:
There are new offers every so often but are limited to one per account. They are also capped at the number of times they can be used total. Each deal will tell you how many offers of the deal are remaining. Each deal will also tell you the promotion expiration date. Additionally, some offers are for online only, in-store only, or online or in-store and will tell you on the offer details page.
The great thing about this card is that purchasing gift cards should work. As long as you purchase the gift card through the merchant directly (and not a third-party site), a gift card purchase will trigger like a regular transaction. Just make sure to read the terms for each promotion to ensure there are no exclusions. This works similar to the Amex Sync deals with triggering a statement credit with a gift card purchase.
Some current deals:
While new offers are added every so often, here are some current deals with the Chime card:
- Marine Layer – Spend $50, Get $5
- GameStop – Spend $55, Get $5
- Old Navy – Spend $30, Get $3
- Cost Plus – Spend $30, Get $3
- Birchbox – Spend $30, Get $3
- Bed Bath and Beyond – Spend $50, Get $5
- JCPenney – Spend $100, Get $10
- Urban Outfitters – Spend $30, Get $3
- Warby Parker – Spend $100, Get $10
In my opinion, the above offers are just okay as there have been much better offers in the past. But remember, prior to using the deal make sure there are a few remaining for that offer. With Amex Sync you are able to reserve a deal and use it at a later time. With Chime card the deal still needs to be available when you go to use it.
The good thing though is there is no obligation to use the card if you do not see any offers you want to take advantage of. Just make sure to stay active every 180 days! And, if you ultimately load the card with money and want to get that money back at some point you can just purchase gift cards with it at a retailer or at Amazon.com, for example. You can always use the cash back option at a grocery store as well. You can also always close the card if you desire.
I got this card a few months ago and found the sign up and activation process to be pretty easy. I’ve received a few statement credits from this offer and they have all been from purchasing gift cards to then use at a later time. I also received my $1 statement credit just for using the card on my first transaction. Similar to Amex Sync, this is not going to earn you a million dollars or a million points/miles, but will definitely save you money on purchases that you might be making anyways. Most of the participating merchants are very common retailers that many of you probably shop at anyways!
Let me know if you have any questions!