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Tips to Avoid Debit Cards Gotchas

Tips to Avoid Debit Cards GotchasConsumers are using debit cards at the check-out counter more than ever before. Next year, debit-card transactions, which deduct funds directly from a checking account, are expected to pull ahead of credit-card sales in market share.

The November issue of Consumer Reports offers these five tips for getting the most out of a debit card and being aware of the "gotchas:"

  1. Know fraud liability. Under federal regulations, a consumer is liable for up to $50 if a debit card is reported lost or stolen. But, debit cards with Visa and MasterCard logos have zero-liability protection. Though there are loopholes, Consumer Reports recommends that consumers stick to debit cards that carry one of those logos.
  2. Limit fraud exposure. Debit cards that use a PIN (personal identification number) for approval are 15 times more secure than signature-based transactions, according to experts. The vast majority of debit cards can be used with either a PIN or signature. Consumer Reports recommends that consumers get a PIN-only debit card and verify that stores they frequent are on the card-issuer's network.
  3. Avoid ATM fees. Some stores allow consumers to get cash back on a purchase when they use their debit card. This tremendous convenience can help consumers avoid ATM fees of up to $2 charged by banks that are not their home bank. However, consumers must make a purchase and the store may limit the amount of cash they can get.
  4. Watch out for merchant charges. Typically, networks for processing debit payments do not allow merchants to tack extra fees onto purchases, but some do. Consumer Reports advises consumers to complain to the store manager, cancel the sale if the fee is not waived, buy elsewhere in the future, and complain directly to the card issuer.
  5. Forget about the rewards. Some banks offer reward programs that let debit card users collect points, usually for transactions complete with a signature rather than a pin. Consumer Reports notes that debit-card benefits equal only about a 0.5 percent rebate on each dollar spent and that it could take years to rack up points for a reward. Banks charge retailers significantly more to process signature debits than they do PIN-based debits. Congress is investigating these programs, so they may not be around long enough for a consumer to collect.


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    Michael Sheperd  [send email] 25th of Nov, 2007

    I was given a discount of $500.00 with the purchase of a complete kitchen. This was a debt card. It had a expiration date on it and it expired before I used it. Is there any recourse that I have to get all of the credit that was suppose to be mine?

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    Jason Patterson  [send email] 25th of Dec, 2007

    Lastly, do NOT sign up for ANYTHING on the internet using a debit card, if at all possible. Get a real credit card (I have an Amazon.Com Visa that has no monthly charges) and use it to make purchases online, then pay it off with your bank debit card. My bank cannot do chargebacks or put stop payments on charges which appear on my debit card/bank account, and Visa won't cover unauthorized charges (scams) because its a debit card and not a credit card.

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    Kay Morgan  [send email] 5th of Feb, 2008

    Why not try what I did? I opened a separate account and got a debit card. I only keep enough money in it to cover the monthly service charge. When I order anything over the net, I use this card and then call my bank and have only enough money put into this account to cover the order. This way, I don't have a credit card that someone can run up unauthorized charges on, and even if someone gets the number, there will not be any money in the account to make it worth their while. This gives me peace of mind knowing no one has access to my checking account when I place an order on the net. Makes sense to me.

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    Naseebullah  [send email] 4th of Jun, 2008

    my dish tv didnt have supers chanels

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    Sudarshan  [send email] 10th of Jul, 2008


    I purchased some material (ration) using my SBI atm/debit card for Rs.795/- on 18th Feb.2008. when I checked my bank statement, the amount was deducted twice. Now I am losing Rs.795/-, but when I enquired with the shop, as per his statement, that amount is not yet remitted to his account also. Please let me know what is the problem? And help me in this regard. I gave complaint in my servicing branch also. But upto now there is no reply.

    Details of my atm/debit card :
    Card No. 6220180226300174563
    Sb a/c. no. 10448603777
    Servicing Branch: SBI, Richards Town Branch, Bangalore

    Shop details
    Shop Name P K Departmental Store
    Address Kadugodi
    Bangalore - 67

    Awaiting earliest reply towards this problem.

    Thanking you,

    Yours truly,

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