You just can’t beat free money

Savings at Covington LA credit unionSometime back in April, my husband asked me to start using my debit card as a credit card. In other words when I check out at the grocery store and Target and Walmart, I need to make sure I ask the clerk “how do I make this a credit?” Unless they have a handy handwritten note taped to the card swiper (and even still I usually just ask).

All for One, One for all!

savings covington la

All for One, and One for All!

Even before April, I always checked out at the stores with my card as “Credit.”  It comes out of our checking account the same, but by using it as “credit” without a required PIN, instead of as a “debit” with my PIN,  I save the credit union a little bit of money every time I use my card, and I know those savings are savings for all of the members — We’re in this together.  Just for kicks, if I guess that every debit transaction costs the credit union $1, and we have thousands of members making thousands of transactions everyday, all of our $1s can add up.

That’s how we get better car loan rates. The credit union saves a little over here in transaction charges and can give us all lower rates over here on our car loan.

But What’s In It for My Checking Account?

My husband read the promo and told me how the credit union had rolled out a new service – UChoose Rewards – to help encourage members to use their cards as “credit.” (Although I’m told the credit union does award points for using your card as a debit with entering a PIN…just not anywhere near as many. I’m all about maximizing my dollars!) We signed up, and since April 2010 we have earned about $300 in points that I can use on any number of gift cards. 300 bucks! Just for hitting the red button on the card swiper instead of putting my PIN in … or is it the green button? Just ask the cashier. (I have said many, many, many times, “What do I push for credit?“)

By the time Christmas gets here, I may have a nice little savings to do my shopping. That’s pretty exciting to me – free is always good, but free money … well you just can’t beat that.

Oh, and you can earn more points if you shop at specific stores. some stores offer more points per dollar than others. The last UChoose email from First Castle that I saw on June 27th, showed 6 Points per $1 at Barnes & Noble and 4 points per $1 at Lowe’s, and on and on. It’s worth checking out if you’re planning on buying a gigantore TV for football season or if you’re about to order a huge box of school uniforms as I just recently did. (That’s right. It’s June and I ordered school uniforms. I am on top of my game this summer!)