Sweet offer: Capital One Smart Cents; Earn $300 free

Now here’s a sweet offer if I’ve ever seen one, the Capital One Smart Cents promotion. They’ll match your savings up to $300 in one year. Earn additional bonuses on top of that for initiating a direct deposit and paying a bill online. I’m not being paid either to tell you about this, I thought it was too cool though not share. If you’ve been postponing setting up a savings account, now’s the time to act! Here’s the details of this offer as I understand them:

Every time you make a purchase with your debit card, .50 cents is taken from your checking account and deposited in your savings account. Capital One then matches your .50 cents, and will continue to match 100% for the first 3 months (up to $300), and then match 5% per transaction for the remainder of the life of the account and or until you reach $300 in the year. The transfers are automatic and you don’t have to do a thing. The checking and savings accounts are free, with no minimum deposit.

What do I think are the pros and cons?


  • Free money
  • Encourages you to save
  • Effortless


  • You have to switch accounts which make take a few minutes
  • Who know’s how many times you’ll use your debit card or what amount of rewards you will actually see
  • I know nothing about their services or how their fees work

In theory, you could make 600 very small purchases in the 3-month period and rack up $300 bucks in free savings. Not sure how merchants would feel about this. Capital one must be sharing in a fee that is imposed on Merchants. By doing this, you may force the merchants to raise their prices on you.

Here’s the graph from the Capital One page where you can find out more info about signing up.


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