Last week we looked into new ways to pay down student loans and we discovered this service, that radical yet fairly simple program which uses play to engage and inspire borrowers to save money and pay down debt.

This week we're going a little bit farther out onto the new wave by looking at a partnership between an FDIC-member bank and a student loan information website. The two have pooled their resources and have created a debit card rewards program which enables borrowers to pay down their student loan debt each time they use their debit card. This article is a SmarterBank review.


Simple Tuition and Smarter Banking

The student loan information Web site, SimpleTuition, has partnered with SmarterBank and the two have rolled out new ways to pay down student loans. The program, dubbed SmarterBucks, requires program participants to get an on line bank account and Visa debit card through the FDIC-member, SmarterBank. Participants will then earn a small percentage on the money they spend with their SmarterBank debit card, which will be put toward paying down their student loan of their choice.


According to an article published in U.S. News & World Report, participants in the program are allowed to earn 0.5 percent of the first $100 spent with their SmarterBucks debit card, to be put toward their loan principal, and an added one percent thereafter. For example, if a participant makes a $300 purchase, the amount he or she would earn toward the student loan of their choice would come to $2.50. That's 50 cents for the first $100 spent, and $2.00 for the remaining $200 spent.

The SmarterBucks program also offers a way for borrowers to pay down their student loans by allowing users to open their accounts to friends and family who might want to contribute. Additionally, SmarterBank offers an on line marketplace featuring such stores as J.Crew, Staples, Walmart and Nike, where participants can earn up to ten percent back on their purchases to be put toward their student loan principle pay-down. The SmarterBank web site also outlines a new feature, coming soon, that will enable users to schedule self-contributions.

“It's a great, low maintenance way to make headway against your student loans through things that you would be doing otherwise,” says SimpleTuition Executive VP of Banking and Rewards, Doug Lowenstein.


To Apply For A Smarter Bank Program – Start Here


Good to Know

When it comes to new ways to pay down student loans, the SmarterBucks program isn't exactly the fastest boat to debt freedom. Still, every little bit helps, and now borrowers can help themselves while carrying on their everyday lives as consumers.

When considering becoming a SmarterBucks program participant, borrowers also need to keep in mind that the purchases they make will have to be signature debit card purchases (where no PIN is entered) in order to qualify for the rewards.

  • Photo Courtesy of –  Images_of_Money
  • Some links above are affiliate links with Simple Tuition