Green Dot Launches 3% Cash Back and Savings Account

Chanelle Bessette
By Chanelle Bessette 
Edited by Zoran Basich

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If you want to earn a high rate of interest and cash back on your spending — and are also OK with waiting up to a year to access it — Green Dot has a new product that may pique your interest.

Green Dot’s new offering, the Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account, gives customers a 3% savings rate on a high-yield savings account, plus a high return on their spending: Unlimited Cash Back debit card holders get an unlimited 3% cash-back bonus on all online and in-app purchases. The bonus is then sent to a separate bonus account, where it remains inaccessible until the account anniversary, when the cardholder can finally access it.

The cash-back bonus account is “like a forced savings account that uses the bank’s money to build up a potentially sizable balance,” the company said in a news release.

A couple of caveats to note: You’ll have to pay a $7.95 monthly fee for the Unlimited Cash Back card unless you've made $1,000 in purchases the previous month, excluding mobile bill payments, ATM withdrawals, ACH transactions and other charges. The high-yield savings account’s funds are accessible at any time, though the interest earned may be accessed only on the account anniversary. And the 3% savings account APY applies only up to a balance of $10,000.

Green Dot, one of the country's most widely distributed banking franchises, is the subject of at least 1,580 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a 2018 NerdWallet analysis. Out of the roughly 5,000 businesses that appear on the agency's public portal, this would place it among the top 2% of companies consumers have complained about the most.

That being said, Green Dot’s accounts are FDIC-insured, and customers have access to a free ATM network and are able to make free cash deposits at national Green Dot retailers, like Walmart. The account has no minimum deposit requirement, and no overdraft or penalty fees.

A previous version of this article used imprecise language in describing the findings of a NerdWallet investigation of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This article has been corrected.

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