I’ve just recently found out about a creative new online rewards program called SmarterBucks. It’s designed to help you pay down your student loans when you spend money on many of the things you already do. You may have seen a few other programs like it, this one is actually affiliated with SimpleTuition, a well-known student loan company which has maintained an A+ rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau since 2006.
Both SmarterBucks and their partner company SmarterBank have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and American Banker, as well as several other places.
How Does SmarterBucks Work?
After signing up on their website(here), you can immediately start earning purchase rewards called SmarterBucks which can then be used to pay off any one of your student loans. You can also save your SmarterBucks up and request a check for that amount to be sent directly to you.
It doesn’t require a credit card unless you’d like to purchase items through the SmarterBucks Marketplace, and you’re under no obligation to buy anything. In fact, they actually have a special debit card and online bank account available which you can sign up for with their FDIC insured partner company, SmarterBank.
While it’s not required, a SmarterBank Visa® debit card could make it easier to shop almost anywhere, in both online or physical stores, while accruing even more SmarterBucks without having to use your usual credit cards or bank accounts. Regardless of what purchase method you use, shopping through the SmarterBucks Marketplace can net you some great deals and up to 10% back in SmarterBucks at major online retailers such as Walmart, the Apple Store, L.L. Bean, Staples, and Groupon, to name just a few.
Also, while it‘s not a requirement, you can hitch your SmarterBucks account directly to an outstanding student loan. Since SmarterBucks currently only allows one loan to be linked, the best choice would likely be whichever one has the highest interest rate or total amount due. The choice would be totally up to you. Each month in which you‘ve earned at least $15 worth of SmarterBucks, your rewards will automatically be applied to your linked student loan in the form of extra payments.
“Each month in which you‘ve earned at least $15 worth of SmarterBucks, your rewards will automatically be applied to your linked student loan in the form of extra payments.”
My Opinion of SmarterBucks
While there are other similar programs like SaveUp that reward you for saving SmarterBucks offer the higest payouts at 10% I have seen.
One of the most interesting aspects is that you can invite family and friends to become contributors, allowing them to send you one-time or re-occurring payments which also go towards paying off whichever student loan you‘ve chosen to link to your account. Soon contributors will be able to sign up for their own SmarterBucks accounts and link them directly to yours, helping to further lower your loan debt while they shop.
A great way to use this contributions function is to create an account before graduation and instead of the typical graduation gift see if your parents or gransparents would be interested in a $10/month contribution to your student loans. Although this doesn’t sound like much it will significantly help reduce the cost of your student loan over the life of it.
SmarterBucks Marketplace Sign Up Process
Step 1 – Visit SmarterBucks and Sign Up
Step 2 – Complete Sign Up Form
Step 3 – Confirm Your Account
Login to your email account and click on the link confirming your account.
Step 4 – Complete Your Loan Details
Step 5 – Login and Earn Rewards
So, while SmarterBucks isn’t going to reduce your student loan debt to nothing on its own, every dollar counts, and if used consistently this program could amount to thousands saved over the course of your loan.
It also doesn’t matter whether you are still in school or have already graduated. There is no limit to how many SmarterBucks you can earn and they never expire. It’s a great way to start lowering your student loan debt, simply by earning rewards for your everyday purchases.
Please note that the smarterbucks links on this page are affiliate links.
If interested you can check out SmarterBucks – Claim Your Free Account