Since the recent changes to the banking industry, a number of larger banking institutions are cutting down their debit card rewards programs and some are scrapping them entirely. Customers who relied on their discounts, gift cards, and cash back rewards are often left without recourse when their bank cancels these popular rewards programs. The banks are keeping more of their profits to make up for monies they are losing elsewhere.

If your bank has sent notification they are discontinuing debit card rewards, you don't necessarily have to sit back and take it. Here are some tips for surviving debit card reward elimination.

Think Small

Most of the major banking institutions have been cutting debit rewards programs. However, there are many smaller community banks and credit unions that are upping the ante to attract more business. Many of the smaller banking institutions also offer other incentives, such as free checking and no minimum balances for checking or savings accounts. Credit unions in particular are good with incentives for customers since they are not in it to make big profits. If smaller banks aren't offering what your family needs, look to online banks that may offer more customer perks due to their lower overhead expenses.

Use Credit Cards Instead

If you are not getting the rewards you are used to with your bank debit card, consider changing how you pay for purchases. Most credit card companies still offer great benefits and rewards that beat even the best debit card rewards programs. Use credit wisely by spending only what you have in cash so you can always be assured you will be able to pay off your credit cards in full each month. Not only will you reap more rewards, you'll also help improve your existing consumer credit score with proactive credit card management.

Hang Out for a While

Bank customers have not stayed silent about their displeasure with the changes in banking fees and service. Banks are aware of how their customers feel and many are working hard to find new incentives to bring back big business. If you are not ready to jump ship just yet, it may work in your favor. Let the dust settle before you switch banks, and see what your bank has to offer in a few months' time — but keep tabs on what other banks and credit unions are putting out to potential new customers.

Consider the Big Picture

While your bank may have cut out your cash back incentives, it can be a bad idea to switch banks just to get debit card rewards. It is vital to sit down and list all the other pros of your bank before you take the big step of going somewhere else. If you are still getting free checking, excellent customer service, and any other banking benefits where you are now, it may be wiser to keep those benefits than have to start over somewhere new. Don't make a big banking decision based on one canceled reward program.

One of the best things a consumer can do for their financial stability is to always stay informed. With the constantly changing banking environment at the present time, you must be sure to open and read all disclosure information and correspondence from your bank so you stay informed and can make smart decisions about where and how you manage your money. Services like help you weed through the options and see what's available to you.

Bank accounts used to be a neglected area of family finance management. Many people believed in the set-and-forget methodology with banking, but now with changing regulations, higher fees, and lack of free checking services, consumers need to pay attention and track the competition to make a decision about which financial institution is the best choice for their own family's financial planning.