Frequently asked questions  

For step-by-step instructions on how to make the most out of your SmarterBucks account, please check out our getting started guides.

General questions

  1. What is SmarterBucks?
  2. SmarterBucks sounds awesome - why are you doing this? Is there a catch?
  3. How much can I save with SmarterBucks? Can you tell me how much I have saved along the way?
  4. Is the SmarterBucks program only for current students?
  5. How do I earn SmarterBucks?
  6. Is there a limit on how many SmarterBucks I can earn?
  7. Do my SmarterBucks expire?
  8. How do I cancel my SmarterBucks account?
  9. What do I have to do to redeem my SmarterBucks?

SmarterBucks enrollment questions

  1. How do I sign up for a SmarterBucks account?
  2. Can parents or friends sign up and have their SmarterBucks go to someone else such as another family member?

SmarterBucks website questions

  1. How long does it take for my SmarterBucks rewards to appear on my SmarterBucks dashboard?
  2. What do "pending" and "earned" mean on my SmarterBucks transactions on my SmarterBucks dashboard?
  3. What happens if I do not see a transaction in my SmarterBucks account?
  4. What happens to my SmarterBucks if I return a purchase?
  5. Is it possible to have a negative SmarterBucks balance?

SmarterBucks Marketplace questions

  1. What is the SmarterBucks Marketplace?
  2. How do I access the SmarterBucks Marketplace?
  3. How many SmarterBucks can I earn in the SmarterBucks Marketplace?
  4. Why do I have to shop through the links on the SmarterBucks website instead of going directly to the retailer's site?
  5. Can I earn SmarterBucks for shopping at an online retailer that I don't see on this website?
  6. If I am just browsing and don't make a purchase, can I go back directly to the retailer at a later date and earn SmarterBucks?
  7. I just went shopping directly on the site of a retailer listed in the SmarterBucks Marketplace. Can I earn SmarterBucks for my purchase even though I did not access the retailer's website from within the SmarterBucks Marketplace?
  8. What happened to the retailer I saw in the SmarterBucks Marketplace last week?
  9. How are SmarterBucks I earn via the SmarterBucks Marketplace calculated?
  10. How long does it take to see SmarterBucks I earned via the SmarterBucks Marketplace appear in my SmarterBucks account?
  11. How long does it take for my SmarterBucks Marketplace purchases to go from "Pending" to "Earned" status?
  12. How come I see a negative amount for a SmarterBucks Marketplace transaction in my account?
  13. What do I do if I don't see a SmarterBucks Marketplace transaction appear in my account?
  14. Do I need to keep the order number I receive from the retailer?
  15. Do I need to mail anything in to get credit for purchases at the SmarterBucks Marketplace?
  16. Why can't I access the SmarterBucks Marketplace?
  17. I am trying to go to the SmarterBucks Marketplace website and it says that I must have cookies enabled, what does this mean? What do I do?
  18. Why are cookies required?

SmarterBucks Surveys Questions

  1. How does SmarterBucks Surveys work?
  2. Where can I find SmarterBucks Surveys?
  3. Why am I asked to fill in profile information before I can access SmarterBucks Surveys?
  4. Where is my confirmation e-mail?
  5. Why have I not received a response from the SmarterBucks Surveys customer support team?
  6. How can I change the frequency of survey emails that I receive?
  7. What are profiles?
  8. How long does it take to fill out a survey?
  9. How can I get more survey invitations?
  10. Why are some surveys more difficult than others?
  11. Who can I contact with a general question about SmarterBucks Surveys?
  12. How long does it take for my survey rewards to show up in my SmarterBucks account?
  13. What if I encounter a technical error?

First Trade Union Bank checking account and debit card questions

  1. Who is First Trade Union Bank (FTUB)?
  2. How do SmarterBucks and the FTUB FT Checking account work together?
  3. How do I apply for the FTUB FT Checking account and debit card with SmarterBucks rewards?
  4. Are there any monthly account fees with the First Trade Union Bank checking account?
  5. What are non-PIN purchases?
  6. When will I receive my debit card once my account has been activated?
  7. Do I need to set up separate user ID's and passwords for my First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account and my SmarterBucks account?
  8. Can I apply for a First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account with SmarterBucks rewards off of the First Trade Union website?
  9. What if I already have a First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account?
  10. Is my bank account FDIC insured?
  11. Can I open a joint FTUB FT Checking account?
  12. Can Gifters open a FTUB FT Checking account?
  13. No ATM fees? How does that work?
  14. How do I track the debit card rewards that I earn?
  15. What happens to my SmarterBucks if I return a purchase?
  16. Do I earn SmarterBucks for Bill-Pay, checks, or ACH transfers?
  17. Is there a limit on how many SmarterBucks I can earn?
  18. If I change my personal info (e.g. email address, mailing address) on the SmarterBucks site, will it change my information in my First Trade Union bank account (or vice versa)?
  19. How and when should I contact First Trade Union Bank directly?

SmarterBucks student loan payments questions

  1. Can I choose any student loan for my SmarterBucks payments?
  2. How do I decide which loan to pick for my SmarterBucks payments?
  3. I am trying to enter information on my chosen loan in my SmarterBucks account. How do I find out the name of the company where I send my loan payments?
  4. Why do I have to enter my loan payment mailing address? Where do I find that information?
  5. Why do I need to enter my loan account number in my SmarterBucks account? How do I find it?
  6. Can I change my chosen student loan?
  7. What happens if I do not enter any student loan information for SmarterBucks payments?

SmarterBucks gift recipient questions

For recipients of gifted rewards

  1. How can others gift their rewards to my SmarterBucks account?
  2. How often are gifted rewards transferred?
  3. Where can I look in my account to see my gifted rewards?
  4. Are there limits on how many rewards a gifter can gift?
  5. Are there any costs to receive gifted rewards?
  6. How do I stop receiving gifted rewards?
  7. Can I receive gifted rewards from multiple gifters?
  8. Someone invited me to be the recipient of their rewards, but I can't find the invitation email. What can I do?
  9. I signed up for SmarterBucks before gifting of rewards was available. What type of account do I have?
  10. I have a standard account, how can I switch to a Gifter account to gift my rewards to someone else?

For gifters

  1. How do I earn SmarterBucks rewards for someone else?
  2. How do I invite a recipient for my gifted rewards?
  3. Who can I gift my rewards to?
  4. How often will my rewards be transferred?
  5. Are there any costs to gift my rewards to another account?
  6. How is a gifter account different from a standard account?
  7. Can I gift my rewards to multiple recipients at once?
  8. Will my rewards recipient be able to see all of my rewards transaction activity?
  9. How can I change the recipient of my gifted rewards?
  10. Are there limits to how many rewards I can gift?
  11. I have a Gifter account, how can I switch to a Standard account to pay down my own student loans?

General questions

What is SmarterBucks?

SmarterBucks is a free rewards program that helps you pay down any student loan you choose.

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SmarterBucks sounds awesome - why are you doing this? Is there a catch?

There is no catch. SmarterBucks is brought to you by SimpleTuition where it is our mission to help people plan better for the cost of college, pay less for college-related expenses, and be smarter about paying back student loans. We have helped millions of families make it easier to afford higher education. We realize that many students graduate from college with a student debt burden that forces them to choose a different career or put off buying a house, getting married, or having children - all in the service of paying off an education that was meant to open doors. With SmarterBucks, we wanted to take something as simple (and necessary) as spending money and make it work for you. It's not going to wipe out your debt overnight, but we pledge to show you how every dollar can make a difference. And we'll help you find lots of ways to earn SmarterBucks, so you can pay down your student loans faster and get on with your life.

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How much can I save with SmarterBucks? Can you tell me how much I have saved along the way?

Your SmarterBucks extra payments not only reduce the balance of the money you borrowed, they also reduce the amount of interest you will have to pay over the life of the loan. If you have a long term loan, each extra dollar you earn in the early stages of repaying that loan can actually reduce up to two or three times that amount how much you would have had to pay. This can add up to thousands of dollars if you stick with it over the life of a typical student loan. How much you specifically save depends on how many SmarterBucks you earn over time as well as details such as the balance, interest rate, and remaining number of payments on the loan to which you direct your SmarterBucks. Because we don't know all that information, we are unable to tell you exactly how much you are saving as you go. But, every time you log into your SmarterBucks account, we will show you how much you have made in extra (free!) payments to your loan as well as an estimate on how that translates to savings on a typical loan.

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Is the SmarterBucks program only for current students?

Absolutely not! The SmarterBucks program is valuable for anyone with student loan debt or for those who want to help someone else who has student loan debt. Of course, it is great for current students as the sooner you start earning SmarterBucks, the more they can help you reduce your student debt.

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How do I earn SmarterBucks?

SmarterBucks can be earned a variety of ways. Here are just a few:

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Is there a limit on how many SmarterBucks I can earn?

There is no limit on the total amount you can earn. The more you earn, the faster you will be able to pay down your student loans!

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Do my SmarterBucks expire?

No. Lots of other rewards programs make your rewards expire if you don't redeem them. We don't think that is fair. With SmarterBucks, your rewards do not expire.

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How do I cancel my SmarterBucks account?

Please contact us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com if you would like to request the cancellation of your account.

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What do I have to do to redeem my SmarterBucks?

We make it real easy to make sure your SmarterBucks quickly go to work for you and get you out of debt faster! As long as you have a valid student loan set up in your SmarterBucks account, there is nothing you need to do to redeem your SmarterBucks - we will automatically do it for you in the form of extra payments to your chosen student loan. Most other rewards programs force you to remember to do something to redeem your rewards, which many people forget to ever do. With SmarterBucks, every month you have at least $10 of "earned" SmarterBucks, we will automatically make a payment to your designated student loan.

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SmarterBucks enrollment questions

How do I sign up for a SmarterBucks account?

Simply go to SmarterBucks.com. To set up your account all you need to do is set up a user ID, password, and a couple of security questions so we can keep your account safe. To really get your SmarterBucks working to reduce your student loan debt, you will need to set up a student loan for payments. We will need some loan information from you, so you might want to grab a recent statement or login to your loan account so you will have the information we need readily available. Don't worry, we've made it really easy to help you find what you will need and get you all set up.

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Can parents or friends sign up and have their SmarterBucks go to someone else such as another family member?

Yes. Family and friends can sign up for SmarterBucks as a Gifter and earn rewards on behalf of someone else with student loan debt. For more information on how gifting of rewards works, please click here.

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SmarterBucks dashboard questions

How long does it take for my SmarterBucks rewards to appear on my SmarterBucks dashboard?

It can take between 30-90 days for your rewards activity to appear in your SmarterBucks dashboard. Gifted rewards will be transferred to your account once a month.

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What do "pending" and "earned" mean on my SmarterBucks transactions on my SmarterBucks dashboard?

Most SmarterBucks transactions will initially post to your account with a "pending" status. Pending transactions are held for a period of validation. Pending transactions will be updated to "earned", usually within 30-90 days of the time the pending transaction posted. Once a transaction becomes "earned", it will be included in the next scheduled monthly payment to your student loan (so long as you have a minimum of $10 in earned SmarterBucks).

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What happens if I do not see a transaction in my SmarterBucks account?

First, make sure it has been at least 30 days, as some pending transactions may take that long to post to your account. If it has been that long, make sure that your transaction was eligible for SmarterBucks. Finally, if you still believe your transaction is missing, please contact us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com

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What happens to my SmarterBucks if I return a purchase?

If you cancel, chargeback, or reverse any portion of a purchase that generated SmarterBucks, we will make a deduction to your SmarterBucks account using the same formula we use to calculate SmarterBucks earnings. This is true even if your original purchase had reached "earned" status.

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Is it possible to have a negative SmarterBucks balance?

It probably will not happen often, but it is possible to have a negative SmarterBucks balance if you have some large returns that more than offset any SmarterBucks balance in your account. If you have a negative balance, you should not be concerned as it mainly reflects a timing offset from SmarterBucks that may have previously been posted in your account on a purchase that later was returned. As you continue to make eligible SmarterBucks purchases, your account should soon reach positive status again.

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SmarterBucks Marketplace questions

What is the SmarterBucks Marketplace?

With the SmarterBucks Marketplace, you can take advantage of great offers and discounts AND earn SmarterBucks when you shop at participating retailers. At the SmarterBucks Marketplace, you can earn SmarterBucks by buying the brand-name things you love from hundreds of leading brands across most shopping categories. You'll find great prices and deals on practically anything. You can even earn SmarterBucks for dining, entertainment, travel, gift cards and even some monthly utilities.

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How do I access the SmarterBucks Marketplace?

For more information on how to access the SmarterBucks Marketplace, check out our Marketplace tutorial here.

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How many SmarterBucks can I earn in SmarterBucks Marketplace?

Each participating retailer decides on their rewards offer(s). To determine which purchases qualify and the specific amount of SmarterBucks rewarded, please review the offer details for each participating retailer listed on the SmarterBucks Marketplace website. Check back as deals and offers change often!

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Why do I have to shop through the links on the SmarterBucks website instead of going directly to the retailer's site?

Because the SmarterBucks Marketplace is reserved only for SmarterBucks rewards program members, these links are provided for you. Using that link is the only way to tell the retailer that you are participating in the SmarterBucks program and will ensure you earn SmarterBucks on your purchases. In order to earn SmarterBucks, you must click and shop through the retailer's link located within the SmarterBucks Marketplace website. If you shop directly through the retailer's website, you will not be awarded SmarterBucks.

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Can I earn SmarterBucks for shopping at an online retailer that I don't see on this website?

No, you must click through a valid link from the SmarterBucks website in order to earn SmarterBucks for the purchases you make. In order to earn SmarterBucks, you must click and shop through participating retailers' links located on the SmarterBucks Marketplace website. If you shop directly through a retailer's website, you will not be awarded SmarterBucks.

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If I am just browsing and don't make a purchase, can I go back directly to the retailer at a later date and earn SmarterBucks?

No, you must come back to the SmarterBucks Marketplace website and click through the links for that specific retailer in order to earn SmarterBucks.

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I just went shopping directly on the site of a retailer listed in the SmarterBucks Marketplace. Can I earn SmarterBucks for my purchase even though I did not access the retailer's website from within the SmarterBucks Marketplace?

No, you must click on the retailer links within the SmarterBucks Marketplace to earn SmarterBucks. This is how we are able to confirm your purchase.

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What happened to the retailer I saw in the SmarterBucks Marketplace last week?

In an effort to bring you the best offerings possible, from time to time the available retailers may change.

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How are SmarterBucks I earn via the SmarterBucks Marketplace calculated?

SmarterBucks earned in the SmarterBucks Marketplace are calculated on the net amount of eligible purchases. Taxes, special handling charges, returns, freight or shipping costs and any unshipped products are not included in the rewards calculation. Individual retailers determine eligible purchases; please refer to the retailer detail page for complete information.

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How long does it take to see SmarterBucks I earned via the SmarterBucks Marketplace appear in my SmarterBucks account?

You should see transactions from your SmarterBucks Marketplace purchases appear (as "pending" transactions) in your account on your Rewards Activity page within 30-90 days.

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How long does it take for my SmarterBucks Marketplace purchases to go from "Pending" to "Earned" status?

All SmarterBucks Marketplace purchases will show an initial status of "Pending" on your Rewards Activity page. Once a transaction goes from "Pending" to "Earned" status, it will then be included in your next automatic rewards payment to your designated student loan (so long as you have more than the minimum of $10 in total earned SmarterBucks at that time). Typically, it takes around 30-90 days for pending SmarterBucks Marketplace rewards to reach earned status, although some exceptions do apply.

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How come I see a negative amount for a SmarterBucks Marketplace transaction in my account?

If you cancel, chargeback, or reverse a purchase made via the SmarterBucks Marketplace, your SmarterBucks for that purchase may be reduced or removed from your SmarterBucks account. Please check each retailer's return policy for returns.

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What do I do if I don't see a SmarterBucks Marketplace transaction appear in my account?

It may take 30-90 days for a SmarterBucks Marketplace transaction to appear in your account. If you still do not see your transaction after 30 days, please call 855-251-9358 or email us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com.

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Do I need to keep the order number I receive from the retailer?

Yes, order information you receive from a retailer is reported back to the SmarterBucks Marketplace team in order to award SmarterBucks. If you have questions regarding SmarterBucks earned in the SmarterBucks Marketplace, please contact customer service at 855-251-9358 or by email at customerservice@smarterbucks.com. If you have a question about your order, please contact the retailer directly.

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Do I need to mail anything in to get credit for purchases at the SmarterBucks Marketplace?

No, after the purchase is made the retailer will report back to the SmarterBucks Marketplace the information required to post your SmarterBucks to your rewards account.

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Why can't I access the SmarterBucks Marketplace?

If you just opened your SmarterBucks account, you will have to wait between 24-48 hours to access the SmarterBucks Marketplace. If your account is more than a week old and you are still having difficulty, please contact us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com.

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I am trying to go to the SmarterBucks Marketplace website and it says that I must have cookies enabled, what does this mean? What do I do?

Cookies must be enabled in your web browser to receive SmarterBucks while shopping at many of our online retailers. Please check your browser "Help" section for more information on how to enable cookies.

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Why are cookies required?

It is necessary for us to be able to track purchases in order to successfully award SmarterBucks.

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SmarterBucks Surveys Questions

How does SmarterBucks Surveys work?

Easy! You sign up and tell us a little bit about yourself. Then we’ll match you to unique survey opportunities based on your preferences. Take as many or as few surveys as you’d like and earn rewards for sharing your opinion. The more survey opportunities you participate in, the more rewards you earn! Please check out our in-depth tutorial for step-by-step instructions on how to get started.

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Where can I find SmarterBucks Surveys?

SmarterBucks Surveys are accessible off of your SmarterBucks Dashboard. Select "Take Surveys" on the "Maximize your rewards" list or in the "Manage my SmarterBucks" navigation menu.

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Why am I asked to fill in profile information before I can access SmarterBucks Surveys?

All surveys submitted to the SmarterBucks Surveys platform are created with specific target demographics in mind. Not everyone will qualify for every SmarterBucks Survey. In order to deliver you surveys that you are most likely to qualify for, we need you to fill in this additional information.

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Where is my confirmation e-mail?

After signing up, a confirmation e-mail is automatically sent to the address you used to register for SmarterBucks. If you don’t receive a confirmation e-mail, please check your spam or junk folder. To avoid future messages from ending up in your spam folder, add support@surveyhelpcenter.com to your list of your approved senders. Note: In order to activate your SmarterBucks Surveys, you must click on the link in this confirmation e-mail.

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Why have I not received a response from the SmarterBucks Surveys customer support team?

We strive to ensure that each query we receive is handled promptly and efficiently. Every email sent to customer support will be responded to within 3-4 business days. Also, to make sure our response doesn’t end up in your spam folder, please add support@surveyhelpcenter.com to your list of approved senders.

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How can I change the frequency of survey emails that I receive?

Log in to your SmarterBucks Surveys homepage and click on the 'My Survey Preferences' link. Scroll to the 'User invite preference' section and select your desired email frequency.

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What are profiles?

Profiles are our way of creating the most relevant opportunities for our members. Telling us more about your experience and interests helps us match you to surveys that you are more likely to qualify for, thereby increasing your chances of earning rewards. Please take a few minutes to fill out the profiles so you can begin participating in the most rewarding surveys!

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How long does it take to fill out a survey?

Most surveys take about 15-20 minutes, but some surveys make take less or more time than that. To help you understand what time commitment is involved, we will always inform you of the expected time it will take to complete each survey before you start.

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How can I get more survey invitations?

Each survey we send you is tailored to fit your interests and experience. We use the data you provided us when you registered, as well as your profile information, to send you the most relevant surveys. Completing the profiles from start to finish will allow us to serve up the most number of pertinent surveys. Please be sure to also check your spam folder and add support@surveyhelpcenter.com to your list of approved senders.

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Why are some surveys more difficult than others?

The criteria and content of each survey is determined by the needs of each specific sponsoring brand. As the nature of each survey is different, you will find that the experience is different. For instance, a quick survey to gather feedback on a new product release will be easier than a longer survey to review a new product ad. Completing the profiles will help to ensure you receive surveys that are most enjoyable for you.

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Who can I contact with a general question about SmarterBucks Surveys?

If you have a general question that isn’t addressed by the FAQs or our survey tutorial, you can contact our Customer Service team by sending an e-mail to support@surveyhelpcenter.com. All inquiries will be responded to within 3-4 business days.

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How long does it take for my survey rewards to show up in my SmarterBucks account?

In order to ensure the integrity of our community and the quality of the information we give to our clients, we validate the results of each survey. Your survey will have a status of "pending" for a short time while we complete our validation. Upon completion of the validation, your status will change to "earned" and your rewards will be credited to your account. This process can take up to 90 days.

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What if I encounter a technical error?

We strive to ensure the best survey-taking experience for our members. However, there is always a chance that a technical error may occur. If your survey encounters an error, rest assured that our team will be investigating the issue with a focus on getting our members up and running as soon as possible.

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First Trade Union Bank checking account and debit card questions

Who is First Trade Union Bank (FTUB)?

Headquartered in Boston, MA, and with assets over $702 million, First Trade is a well-capitalized bank that offers the product depth of a national brand, the online and mobile capabilities of a virtual bank and the personalized attention that only a community bank can provide. An innovative, full-service bank, First Trade is committed to adopting the most advanced and secure technologies to provide its customers with maximum flexibility and convenience. FTUB offers products like the FT Checking account with SmarterBucks rewards and no ATM fees, a high-yield savings account, overdraft protection, a payment app called FT Pay, online and mobile banking, and paperless online account opening – which means you can do all your banking with a debit card and a computer, tablet or phone! First Trade is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and is an Equal Housing/Equal Opportunity Lender.

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How do SmarterBucks and the FTUB FT Checking account work together?

SmarterBucks and First Trade Union Bank have teamed up to create the only checking account and debit card that earn SmarterBucks rewards that help pay down student debt: FT Checking! In order to open a FTUB FT Checking account with SmarterBucks rewards, you must FIRST sign up for a free SmarterBucks account, and then apply for the checking account using the links provided via email or on your SmarterBucks dashboard. Once approved for an account, you will be sent a FTUB debit card in the mail that will earn you 1.00% back in SmarterBucks rewards on all non-PIN purchases (i.e. purchases where you don't enter your PIN number). SmarterBucks rewards will be tracked automatically and will show up on your SmarterBucks dashboard 1-2 days after your purchases are made.

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How do I apply for the FTUB FT Checking account and debit card with SmarterBucks rewards?

In order to apply for a FTUB FT Checking account with SmarterBucks rewards, you must first sign up for a SmarterBucks account. This will allow us to automatically link your two accounts and track your earned rewards. Here's how it works:

First Trade Union Bank will let you know within a couple of days whether your FT Checking account has been approved.

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Are there any monthly account fees with the First Trade Union Bank checking account?

No, there are no monthly account fees associated with the FTUB FT Checking account. There is just a $100 minimum required to initially open the account.

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What are non-PIN purchases?

When using your FTUB debit card to pay for things in store, you will likely be asked to choose between “debit” or “credit.” Even though you are using a debit card, you will want to always select the credit option. That way you'll earn 1.00% in rewards on every purchase. If you select the debit option, you will be prompted to enter your PIN number. Transactions where you have entered your PIN number will not qualify for 1.00% back in SmarterBucks rewards.

Shopping online? Just use your debit card like you would a credit card, and you will earn 1.00% back on your transactions.

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When will I receive my debit card once my account has been activated?

Once your account has been approved and your initial deposit has been processed, you will typically receive your debit card 5-7 days after account activation.

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Do I need to set up separate user ID's and passwords for my First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account and my SmarterBucks account?

Yes. Because SmarterBucks and First Trade Union Bank each have their own website, you will need to set up a separate user ID and password for each. To monitor and manage your checking account, you will need to enroll in FTUB’s Online Banking service at https://www.ftub.com. Once enrolled in Online Banking, you can download the FT Mobile app for your phone or tablet from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

To monitor and manage your SmarterBucks rewards, you will need to log into your SmarterBucks dashboard at https://secure.smarterbucks.com. If you change your login information on one site, it will not change on the other one.

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Can I apply for a First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account with SmarterBucks rewards off of the First Trade Union website?

Not at this time. You must be a SmarterBucks member, and apply for the FTUB FT Checking account using the links provided on your SmarterBucks dashboard. This ensures that we are able to link your two accounts and automatically track your debit card rewards.

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What if I already have a First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account?

If you already have a FTUB checking account and debit card, and would like to be able to earn SmarterBucks rewards on your debit card purchases, please contact us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com.

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Is my bank account FDIC insured?

Yes. Our banking partner, First Trade Union Bank, is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which means that your deposits are insured up to $250,000.

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Can I open a joint FTUB FT Checking account?

Yes. You may open a joint account with one other person, including a spouse, parent, or relative, if you so choose. If approved, you and your joint applicant will both be issued debit cards. All of the SmarterBucks rewards earned on both of these debit cards will be credited to your SmarterBucks rewards account.

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Can Gifters open a FTUB FT Checking account?

Absolutely! SmarterBucks Gifters can earn rewards using the debit card in the same way standard account holders can. These rewards will accumulate in the SmarterBucks Gifter's reward account until they are transferred, once a month, to their recipient.

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No ATM fees? How does that work?

First Trade Union Bank FT Checking account and debit card holders have access to: unlimited, fee-free withdrawals at all First Trade ATMs and banking center locations; and unlimited surcharge-free withdrawals at ATMs displaying the SUM℠ Program logo.

Furthermore, any fees incurred using ATMs outside of these networks will be automatically rebated by First Trade Union Bank each month! You'll see the rebates show up as credits to your account at the end of each statement cycle.

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How do I track the debit card rewards that I earn?

SmarterBucks rewards that are earned from an FTUB debit card purchase should show up in your SmarterBucks rewards account – on the Activity tab – within 1-2 days after the transaction has been processed. To log in to your SmarterBucks account, please visit: https://secure.smarterbucks.com/

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What happens to my SmarterBucks if I return a purchase?

If you cancel, chargeback, or reverse any portion of a purchase that generated SmarterBucks, or if you receive a non-PIN/signature credit to your First Trade Union Bank debit card, we will make a deduction to your SmarterBucks account for the rewards earned on that purchase.

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Do I earn SmarterBucks for Bill-Pay, checks, or ACH transfers?

No. The only way to earn SmarterBucks from your FT checking account is by making non-PIN purchases with your debit card.

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Is there a limit on how many SmarterBucks I can earn?

There is no limit on the total amount you can earn. The more you earn, the faster you will be able to pay down your student loans! And, like all SmarterBucks rewards, your rewards never expire.

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If I change my personal info (e.g. email address, mailing address) on the SmarterBucks site, will it change my information in my First Trade Union bank account (or vice versa)?

No. Because SmarterBucks and First Trade Union Bank are run on two separate secure platforms, any information you change on one platform will not automatically be changed on the other. If you want the information to be consistent, please make changes to both sites to make sure we have the right information about you at all times.

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How and when should I contact First Trade Union Bank directly?

Please contact First Trade Union Bank directly with any questions about your application or existing checking account and debit card. Their customer service department can be reached Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. ET – 5:00 p.m. ET in several ways:

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SmarterBucks student loan payments questions

Can I choose any student loan for my SmarterBucks payments?

Yes, you may select any valid student loan so long as you are the primary borrower on the loan.

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How do I decide which loan to pick for my SmarterBucks payments?

For more information, check out our tutorial on choosing which student loan to pay down.

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I am trying to enter information on my chosen loan in my SmarterBucks account. How do I find out the name of the company where I send my loan payments?

The company who communicates with you about making payments on your loan (including sending you the monthly bill) is called the loan servicer. Your servicer can be the same company that made you the loan, but often it is a different company who may have bought your loan from your original lender or it could be another business who manages the loan on behalf of the lender. You can find the name of your servicer on mail you receive regarding your loan payments or on your account once you have started repaying your loan. For more information, check out our tutorial on finding your loan servicer information.

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Why do I have to enter my loan payment mailing address? Where do I find that information?

In order for us to send your SmarterBucks as an additional loan payment to your loan servicer, you need to accurately enter the U.S. mail payment address that is specifically tied to the loan you have chosen. Be sure that you accurately enter the address. An incorrect street or Post Office box address could prohibit or delay your additional payments.

Here are a few suggestions on where to go to find the address of where you send payments:

For more information, check out our tutorial on finding your loan servicer information.

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Why do I need to enter my loan account number in my SmarterBucks account? How do I find it?

In order for us to send your SmarterBucks as an additional loan payment to your loan servicer, you need to accurately enter the account number for the chosen loan product. Please be sure that you accurately enter your account number, as entering an incorrect number will result in your rewards payment NOT POSTING to your loan account. We promise to keep your information safe.

If you don't know the account number for your loan, here are a few places you can look to find it:

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Can I change my chosen student loan?

Yes. If you would like to change your chosen student loan for any reason (e.g. you may have paid off your first choice), you may do so. If we are in the middle of processing a rewards payment to your current choice, we may ask you to come back to make the change after that last payment has been completed.

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What happens if I do not enter any student loan information for SmarterBucks payments?

Even if you have not yet entered information on a student loan, you will continue to earn SmarterBucks. You will be able to log into your account, and see all your rewards activity as well as your growing balance of SmarterBucks. However, without a valid loan entered in your account, we will not be able to make any payments on your behalf and help you get out of debt faster. Remember, the sooner those extra payments start, the more you will save on your student loan.

If you do not enter a student loan for a period of one year, you will have the option of continuing to retain your earned SmarterBucks balance in your account, or requesting a cash payment be sent to you.

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SmarterBucks gifted rewards questions

For recipients of gifted rewards

How can others gift their rewards to my SmarterBucks account?

Know someone who wants to earn rewards on your behalf? Tell them to sign up for a SmarterBucks Gifter account—which is fast, easy, and free. Once they sign up, they can invite you as their recipient through their SmarterBucks dashboard. Then all you have to do is accept that invitation. Then we'll automatically transfer their earned rewards balance to you every month. The best part? You can have as many gifters as you want.

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How often are gifted rewards transferred?

Earned rewards are automatically transferred to your account from your gifter's account once per month.

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Where can I look in my account to see my gifted rewards?

You can track your gifted rewards from within your SmarterBucks dashboard. Login to your SmarterBucks dashboard, select 'Manage my SmarterBucks,' then select 'Manage my gifted rewards.' From here you will be able to see the history of gifted rewards to your account.

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Are there limits on how many rewards a gifter can gift?

No.

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Are there any costs to receive gifted rewards?

No.

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How do I stop receiving gifted rewards?

Login to your SmarterBucks dashboard, select 'Manage my SmarterBucks,' then select 'Manage my gifted rewards,' then select 'Stop getting SmarterBucks.'

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Can I receive gifted rewards from multiple gifters?

Yes. There is no limit on the number of gifters you can have.

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Someone invited me to be the recipient of their rewards, but I can't find the invitation email. What can I do?

If you are already a SmarterBucks member and your gifter sent an invitation to the email address with which you registered for SmarterBucks, you will automatically be prompted to accept your gifter's invitation the next time you login to your SmarterBucks dashboard. To see a complete list of pending invitations, login to your SmarterBucks dashboard, select 'Manage my SmarterBucks,' then select 'Manage my gifted rewards.' If you are not a SmarterBucks member, or are not prompted at login, please contact us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com.

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I signed up for SmarterBucks before gifting of rewards was available. What type of account do I have?

All SmarterBucks members who signed up for SmarterBucks before gifting was available have a standard SmarterBucks account, designed for those who want to pay down their own student loans.

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I have a standard account, how can I switch to a Gifter account to gift my rewards to someone else?

To switch to a Gifter account, you will need to: 1) close your current Standard account; and 2) sign up for SmarterBucks again and select 'Gifter account' when prompted to indicate how you will be using your SmarterBucks account. To request that we close your current Standard account, please email us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com.

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For gifters

How do I earn SmarterBucks rewards for someone else?

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How do I invite a recipient for my gifted rewards?

Click here for a complete tutorial on how to invite rewards recipients.

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Who can I gift my rewards to?

Anyone with a standard SmarterBucks account. If you want to gift rewards to someone who hasn't signed up for SmarterBucks yet, invite them via your SmarterBucks dashboard anyway and we'll walk them through the setup process.

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How often will my rewards be transferred?

Earned rewards are automatically transferred from your account to your recipient's once per month.

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Are there any costs to gift my rewards to another account?

No.

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How is a gifter account different from a standard account?

Standard members earn rewards in order to pay down their own student loans. Gifters earn rewards on behalf of a standard member. That is, gifters don't keep their rewards.

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Can I gift my rewards to multiple recipients at once?

No, you can only have one recipient at a time. However, you can change your recipient at any time.

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Will my rewards recipient be able to see all of my rewards transaction activity?

No, recipients will only see the total amount of rewards that were transferred from your account to their account.

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How can I change the recipient of my gifted rewards?

Remove your current recipient using your SmarterBucks dashboard: Login, select 'Manage my SmarterBucks,' then select 'Manage my gifted rewards.' Simply select 'Stop gifting' next to your current recipient and then invite someone else. Easy.

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Are there limits to how many rewards I can gift?

Nope! They also never expire.

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I have a Gifter account, how can I switch to a Standard account to pay down my own student loans?

To switch to a Standard account, you will need to: 1) close your current Gifter account; and 2) sign up for SmarterBucks again and select 'Standard account' when prompted to indicate how you will be using your SmarterBucks account. Since we won't be able to transfer your earned rewards over, we encourage you to wait until your last rewards payment has been processed before closing your account. To request that we close your current Gifter account, please email us at customerservice@smarterbucks.com.

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