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Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by mwjlake, Jun 16, 2000.
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You need to be really careful using debit cards because you run the risk of having overdrafts as you cannot be sure, as when writing a check, the amount that will actually be deducted when you make a purchase. Some merchants seek approval for more money than the actual charge, and it takes several days for such items to be corrected. In the mean time, you don't have access to the money.
So you need to keep track of your bank balance on a daily basis to make sure you are aware of balance changes. Personally, I don't write any checks on my debit card bank account. Having an overdraft can mean financial suicide, an inability to open a checking account at most banks for 5 years, while you wait for the negative notation to come off your ChexSystems report.
Amen!! I used my check card in Vegas to secure a hotel room, and they deducted $1200.00 from my account. That was fun, since the hotel room was only $75.00 per night. Watch out for that!!!
Here's a worse case that happened to a co-worker. Someone stole her check card from her mailbox and emptied her account. All her checks bouned. The back "froze" her account while she was investigating, but that did not give her any money to live on or make the bounced rent check good.
At least if a CC is stolen and used up, you are not "out" any cash while they investigate - you just can't use the card.
Debit cards are a plague. No advantages of CC's, but all the risks.
Since the same protections afforded to you by purchasing w/ a credit card aren't extended to debit card use, I strongly urge you not to use a debit card for online purchases. If someone frauduently uses your debit card information, your hard earned cash is gone.
I use mine all of the time for on-line purchases and have for about 2 years. I also have 2 regular secured cards which I use from time to time but find myself using the debit card much more often. I've never had any problem but I don't use them if the site isn't secure. Usually, most sites have give you the option of a toll free number to call to place an order or to fax it in with credit card info if you are uncomfortable giving your information out on line. Never, ever tell anyone---whether it's during a phone order or in the store that your card is a debit card! If it has the VISA or MC logo, they will usually ask if it's credit or debit but even if it's a debit card, as long as it has the logo, you can say credit. I have a regular ATM card (without logo) and the MasterCard logo Debit card. They are both from the same bank and are drawn off of the same account but I use them in different ways and usually when using the debit card with the logo, I use it as a credit card and tell the cashier that it is credit. The same as when on line--no one has to know that it is a debit card and this can help prevent theft or misuse by others.
Regarding your experience with the hotel, is $1200 the amount that they actually deducted from your account or is that the amount that they secured your stay with? I do a lot of traveling on business--you may not know, that when renting a car or renting a hotel room, they will always put it through for an amount that they expect you to spend. For example, if you are paying $75 a night, they also figure that you will have room service, phone calls and other miscellaneous charges. But upon check out, they should only be actually billing you for the amount that you actually did spend. If you know you are not going to be utilizing room service and will be making any phone calls with a phone credit card and don't expect any additional charges other than for the rooom, I usally tell them that up front. They will then usually block you from being able to make any phone calls (at least long distance ones)without a calling card and you would only be able to order room service on a cash basis. I've found that some depending on the hotel and what credit card system they use, put a certain amount through and that amount is not available to you until it is released upon check-out, but not always.
I guess the best advice when using a check card is to treat it like a checking account--don't forget to record your transactions just as you would checks and you should be able to avoid any overdrafts. If used properly, too me, these are a real lifesaver!
One other quick tip--when renting a car and using a debit card, I find that if you let the rental car company know in advance that you are using a debit card, they can tell you the amount that they have to secure the card with so you can make sure it's in your account.
Sorry, this is so long but I hope it helped!
Oddly enough, they debited the entire amount from my account, and still required a cash only policy at the restaurants. No room charges. As soon as I told them they took all my money, they offered to wire it back the next day. And they did. Oh well, live and learn.
As a Credit card holder, you're liable for only 50$ when your credit card is fradulently used, but in debit cards it's not, all the money can be wiped-out. Besides, some banks impose a maximum transaction limit per day for you check card like 1500$ for a classic check card which will be a liability
Having said that, debit cards are very useful and the way of the future. Don't use it for online purchases.