PerkStreet iPhone apps

Known for its cash back checking account, PerkStreet Financial is expanding with a new savings account and the first version of it mobile banking applications, among other changes. However, many customers will not experience these changes yet.

Because PerkStreet launched a new technology platform that is not tied to its previous system, its customer base is divided between customers who signed up under the legacy system (the old version) and those who signed up when the new platform that went live today. The transition to the new platform for legacy customer accounts is slated for this summer.

“Because of the time and complexity of converting existing accounts, we made the choice to launch these features as quickly as possible and do a complete conversion over the summer for existing customers,” said Jason Henrichs, co-founder and COO of PerkStreet Financial, in an email statement.

The new platform allows PerkStreet checking customers to sign up for a linked savings account. They’ll also have access to the mobile apps (awaiting approval for the Apple App Store and Google Play), which allow customers to review account balances, perform fund transfers between PerkStreet accounts and deposit checks by using their smartphone’s camera.

Additionally, under the new platform, customers will have free access to more than 23,000 ATMs on the MoneyPass ATM network as opposed to the 40,000 ATMs on the STARsf ATM network. Deposit capabilities through UPS and MoneyGram — still available to legacy customers until the transition — are absent in the new platform.

In a blog post, PerkStreet said the costs and infrequent use of these deposit services, paired with the introduction of mobile check deposit, led to their discontinuation.

There are no other changes to to PerkStreet’s offerings.

Current customers to wait a little longer

Since PerkStreet hinted at mobile apps two years ago, existing customers have been eagerly waiting for features such as mobile check deposit. To hear they’ll have to wait a few more months may be too much to bear.

“For customers who don’t want to wait (which we can appreciate since they’ve been very patient so far), they will need to apply for a new account,” Henrichs added. “We have developed a number of tools to help customers move their account over, including a perks transfer tool, but they will still need to link their existing account to transfer funds and re-enter bill pays or automated transfers.”

Unfortunately, customers with new accounts must wait 60 days before they can use mobile deposit. For existing customers, the 60-day wait isn’t a big difference compared to the automatic summer transition.

Savings account needs more

While PerkStreet differentiates its checking account from others by offering a cash back debit card program, the new savings account appears less attractive in a highly competitive market.

The savings account, available only to checking customers, has no monthly fee and pays 0.15% APY (as of March 6, 2013).

Compared to savings accounts from big banks, PerkStreet’s savings account is a better option without burdensome requirements to avoid monthly fees and nearly nonexistent interest returns.

However, most savings accounts from online banks also carry no monthly fee but pay much more in interest. Ally Bank’s online savings account, for instance, offers 0.90% APY.

In the past, PerkStreet has made improvements to its checking account, such as offering large amounts of cash back (up to 25 percent) at certain retailers, so its savings account may get some upgrades in the future.

“We have a number of savings-based innovations in the works, including a PowerSavings account that will offer substantially more cash back and help customers reach their goals faster without going into debt,” said Henrichs.

(UPDATE: The story has been updated with comments from Jason Henrichs, co-founder and COO of PerkStreet Financial.)

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  • Bill Milton

    Perk Street is not a very good deal imo…

    • Jason Henrichs

      Bill – I’d love to learn more about why you feel this way. We created PerkStreet with the sole intent of being a good deal for Main Street America. We give cash back on spending on a debit card which keeps people from spending money they don’t have and are always looking for ways to give more back. I know we aren’t the best solution for everyone, but if there are things we could be doing better for the customers we do serve, I’d love to hear about it. ~Jason

  • Dsa Cjr

    the worst — sleazy, corrupt, clueless to the core … contact me for details

    • Jason Henrichs

      I’d like to hear what went wrong and what we can do to correct it. If you don’t mind sharing non-personal details in this forum, I’m willing to be accountable for whatever transpired and do what we can to make the situation right. ~Jason

  • Steve

    Just want to say that my experience w/ Perkstreet has been excellent. I’m sure that, like every business, they have issues. However, having been hung up on by bank “service” reps while asking a simple question, I feel confident that PS would never do that, and actually WANT to help.

  • ErikaO

    I joined Feb 2012 because 5 months earlier in September 2011 there was a “message from the COO” that a mobile app would be coming soon…

    –So far there was no app, and barely a mention about it. (I check my emails and perk blog… Not gonna chase you on Facebook or twitter) This perkstreet blog hasn’t been updated in a while to the point it felt like you guys gave up on yourselves just like a lot of your customers have.
    –The powerperks changed from voting to “customized”.
    –The new powerperks (in my experience) went from a few almost relative options to an explosion of random crap only redeemable online.
    –Of the 1 powerperk I took advantage of recently, I had to contact you guys to get my 7% (shady much).

    NOW… new customers come first!?

    I read the comment about new technology and catching up. All you guys have been doing is tripping up. There is what’s easy, and what’s right. And after all the empty promises, I’m not shocked about this, but a little surprised at the lack of respect.

    To be honest, unlike a lot of other customers, I’m lucky enough to be 100% happy with my brick and mortar bank. I was using perkstreet for getting rewarded on my spending cash. At this rate, I’d rather not deal with weird perk options and long deposit times since Perkstreet would rather not deal with existing issues in timely respectful manners.

    Pissed Off.

    • Jason Henrichs

      Erika – I’m sorry you feel that way and I apologize the changes we’ve made don’t make PerkStreet better for you. I appreciate the opportunity to openly discuss why we decided to make the technology available to new customers first. This was not a decision we took lightly. Implementing the new technology took over a year because of the number of systems and complexity involved. Converting the existing customers at the same time would have delayed its availability by several months. We opted to make it available as quickly as possible, knowing existing customers that wanted immediate access to this functionality could open a new account and we’ve built as many tools as possible to help them move their accounts over. Existing customers that would rather wait for the conversion will have their accounts moved over by PerkStreet which is less work but requires more patience. In an ideal world we could have done both at once, but unfortunately we need to operate with the constraints we’re given.

      I’m sorry the changes to PowerPerks aren’t working for you. Across the board, however, more customers have been able to get cash back using them and we are working to make sure they are as personalized as possible.

      Again, I’m sorry we couldn’t meet your needs and hope that you continue to be happy with your brick and mortar bank. ~Jason

      • ErikaO

        For an online bank it seems odd it took this long for an app. In fact, instead of polarizing your customers, why not wait another year for the app when your “new technology” would be set for EVERYONE.

        Furthermore, your moderator on your blog is a smarta$$. You can thank Kyle for nailing the coffin on my perkstreet account. I will be cashing in my perks then closing my account.

        And for everyone else…. PNC virtual wallet, FABULOUS.

      • I agree with EricaO this new policy where the loyal customers who have been with the bank for some time are sent to the back of the bus is horrific. I have been with the company for a while now and I was really pissed off when you took away the 2% with the $5,000 balance. That is really the only reason that a switched to your bank. Now I am being told the new customers get first crack at this app I have been waiting for since I first came to this bank is just too much for me to accept. This is total BS and I am believe I will need to start looking for a new bank. This bank has been nothing but bait and switch since I first signed up!!!!

  • Jessica

    It’s just disrespectful that the legacy customers (like myself) are being treated this way. We have to either open a new account and start from scratch or we have to wait until sometime this summer to get what a customer as of Wednesday gets now. Releasing the app to the newbies first speaks volumes of what PS really thinks of the people who waited patiently for over two years.

    We made you. Make it worth our while again.

    • ErikaO

      Even if you start from scratch, you then can’t use mobile deposit for 60 days due to some security measure.

      Realistically, with the way PS follows timelines, us legacies won’t have access until summer 2014.

      • Jessica

        I’m waiting till I get my new bank account set up, changing my direct deposits, cashing in my perks and getting TFO of PerkStreet. And you know what? That should still take less than 60 days and will definitely be done before summer. Any you know what else? They’ve had an app for years without making customers wait two months to use. Seeing as you’ve found a B&M bank you like, it shouldn’t be too hard for the legacies to leave and do the same.

        My bank doesn’t get to treat me like a starter wife.

  • robertallen79

    I wish everyone would quit acting like every system needs to be total built proof and perfect because there is no such thing as a perfect world, yes there maybe better banks like ally, but perksteet is FDIC, and doesn’t judge someone over there credit rating, I have tried them all over a year and I have to say that at lease Perkstreet is about the blue collar worker vs who has a perfect credit score or has a 100 dollars to deposit in there account to start it up

  • Mike Miller

    One thing that people need to understand that most people who have bad experiences are the ones who comment on stories such as this. I surely hope most people realize this and that happy customers are not usually taking the time to write about how happy they are unless it is in response to negative comments, which brings me to my point.

    I have been a Perkstreet customer for about 2 and a half years now and must say that without a doubt it is the BEST banking institution on so many levels. In my lifetime, I have been a customer of many larger and smaller banks and my experiences with PerkStreet have been amazing. For starters, I am on a plan to become debt-free (which is how I was introduced to Perkstreet in the first place). Credit cards are evil little rectangles and I will never use them again. Many people use them with the justification that they “pay them off every month” and they are merely using them “for the points, perks, etc.” What I like about Perkstreet are the Perks that you do get all without the credit risk associated with credit cards and sans the interest and fees, of course. And there are perks for everyone. If you really work at it hard, you can use the power perks offered and get incredible returns. Or, if you are like me, I just use this as my main account and even with the basic perks I still get loads of FREE MONEY. And when I say FREE MONEY I mean it. Without ever playing the power perks (though it has worked in my favor just by coincidence many times), I have received about $1900 in absolutely free money over the lifetime of my account and that is for doing nothing more than just using the account. And that is on a lower-than-the-national average income, so most people would make even more!

    I could go on forever about this but I won’t. I rarely have to call them for anything but when I do their people have always been super helpful and NEVER ever rude. I have never had any “system” issues with my online account or improper charges, incorrect balances, etc. Had those many times with some larger institutions. I can get money out of so many ATMs without any fees at all, which is so nice. Transfers are a cinch. They offer online banking and the ability to download your transactions into your favorite financial program.

    I will admit that the one slight annoyance has been the absence of mobile banking and mobile check deposit. Sure, it is a little bit inconvenient when depositing cash or checks (At this point, but the announcement provided in March means all that will change). However, Perkstreet even makes that easy, the only real inconvenience is having to wait a day or 2 which is fine by me. You can deposit checks by sending them overnight UPS and they cover the bill automatically! You can deposit cash using MoneyGram, again completely at their expense.

    All things considered for a bank to bend over backward to make it as easy as they do for me to bank with them and on top of that give me free money. I can deal with that. I am honestly an unofficial Perkstreet evangelist and tell everyone I know about how they should sign up with them. (Too bad they do not have a referral program or I would be loading up…hint hint Mr. Henrichs 🙂 )

    The new mobile banking, which I am happy to wait for, will just be icing on the cake!

    • TimM

      I agree with everything Mike has shared. Perkstreet has been a top-notch institution to work with (on every level!). I was fortunate enough to become a member under the newer platform. I had to request that the new platform’s credentials be synced with It took only two weeks for the new Perkstreet credentials to become a valid selection on! Very impressive. I deposited a check using the mobile for the first time yesterday. I functions flawlessly. I couldn’t be happier.