What’s great about debit cards is that you can use them like a credit card without the risk of debt build-up. Nevertheless, using a debit card indiscreetly can still get you into trouble. In this article, let’s talk about ten best tips on how you can use your debit card in the most advantageous way:
1. Put your personal spending in check. Although you can only use your debit card if you have an available balance, there is still the tendency to spend your funds on unimportant purchases. If you’re having trouble controlling your spending, avoid saving a large amount of cash in your debit account.
2. Monitor your purchases. To keep track of your spending, make it a habit to write down each purchase or each transaction you pay with your debit card. Keeping a record of your transactions can help you manage your debit account more effectively.
3. Avoid overdraft fees. Although exceeding your limit is not allowed, there may be instances when your purchase is accepted even it exceeds your available balance. However, you will be charged with an overdraft fee which can cost $30 or more. Avoid such fees by checking your account first before making a purchase.
4. Look out for “holds”. Some hotels and rent-a-car companies may hold some of your available funds in exchange for a reservation. In this case, you want to make sure that you understand the exact “hold” amount and how long it would be held by the merchant. Better yet, you may consider using a credit card or paying the bill in full with your debit card.
5. Choose a strong PIN code. A recommended PIN code is a random combination of digits that has nothing to do with your personal information such as your birthday or anyone in your family’s birthday or your wedding date.
6. Check your account often. Be sure to check your debit account online regularly especially after making a purchase. Check the exact fees that you incurred from the transaction. The Federal Law protects debit cardholders from fraudulent transactions but only up to $50 and you need to inform your bank within two days after the transaction was made.
7. Do not link to your savings accounts. To be safe from fraud, it’s best not to link your debit account to your savings account.
8. Do not use your debit card for large purchases. If you plan to make a large purchase online, don’t charge it on your debit card. Keep in mind that debit cards offer only a limited protection so you may not get much help in case there is a problem with your purchase. Instead, use a credit card that offers a Fraud Liability Protection so you can have the option to dispute charges should you need to.
About the Author
Tara Tiemann is a credit analyst for Go-prepaid.com which has been a resource site for people who want to live debt free. If you are on a budget using prepaid debit cards,prepaid credit cards and prepaid cell phone service can save you big money!