I subscribe to several newsletters aimed at small business owners and financially-savvy moms. It was through one such email (I believe it was LearnVest) that I found out about SmarterBank; an online bank designed to help you pay off your student loan debt faster.
Say what?!? A bank that’s going toÃ‚Â help me pay off student loan debt?Ã‚Â
Yep. You read that right.
Now, first it’s important to note several things. I don’t believe in using credit cards; I loathe my student loan debt; and outside of my local credit union, I only use online banks. I find they offer better rates for savings, and they’re easy as can be to transact with.
So, the fact that SmarterBank is an online-only bank is not concerning to me.
And here’s how it works. When you open a SmarterBank account, you’ll receive a Visa debit card; when you use it for “non-pin” purchases (meaning, you select ‘credit’ at checkout), you’ll earn unlimited 0.5% back in SmarterBucks on purchases less than $100, and 1% on purchases over $100.
These SmarterBucks can then be used to pay down your student loans.
Now, when you first look at those numbers, it doesn’t seem like much. But I did the math. We use our debit card for approximately $3500 in purchases each month (paying bills, buying gas and groceries, etc.).
Even if it’s a 50/50 split (meaning, half of our purchases under $100 and half over), I’d still be earning, on average, $26 per month towards paying down student loan debt; over the course of a year, that’s an extra $320 … or in my case, about an extra payment and a half.
When you shop online through the SmarterBucks marketplace, you’ll earn even larger rewards, increasing what you can contribute to your loans.
Depending on the length of your loan and the interest rate you have, you could pay your loan off 41 months early and save yourself over $7000. That’s a huge chunk of change.
Needless to say, I jumped on this train immediately. You can learn more about how the program works at the SmarterBucks website, but I have to say that, as a user, I’m totally in love.
photo credit: SmarterBucks