Debit cards offer some wonderful benefits to cardholders, including the ability to withdraw cash at ATMs all over the world and the ability to use the card to pay for things or services, anywhere Visa cards are accepted, potentially eliminating (or at least lowering) the need to carry a lot of cash.
Debit Card Mistakes to Avoid
However, there are some things that you shouldn’t do with your debit card. Here are six mistakes to avoid:
- Not keeping a close eye on your balance. When you use your debit card as a “credit” transaction, it can sometimes take a few days for the purchase to show up on your account. If you are just relying on the account balance figure you see when you log onto your account online, you run the risk of “bouncing” transactions because that balance may not reflect money you have already spent. Keep a check register and record every transaction on a daily basis, so you’ll always know how much money is in your account.
- Overusing ATMs. Educate yourself about which ATMs are in-network. Using too many out-of-network ATMs will result in a lot of unnecessary ATM fees.
- 3. Using your debit card for big-ticket items. If you buy an expensive item that you may need to return, it is sometimes better to use a credit card rather than a debit card. Credit cards offer the protection of being able to file a claim with the card issuer to get your money back right away, but that option isn’t available for debit card purchases.
- Forgetting to record pre-approved debit transactions. If you have set up autopay for your phone or electric bill using your debit card, remember to record those transactions in your check register every month so you don’t inadvertently send your balance into negative territory.
- Not recording your spouse’s transactions. If you and a spouse or partner share an account, make sure both of you knows the balance, and that both of your debit card transactions get recorded in your check register.
- Writing your PIN on your card or carrying it in your wallet. This one seems painfully obvious, but it’s worth reiterating. Your PIN is designed to help keep your account balance secure by restricting ATM and debit transactions to only those who know your PIN number. It may be tempting to write your number on your card so you don’t forget it or to carry it on a slip of paper in your wallet or purse; however, doing so is like handing over a blank, signed check to anyone who steals or happens to find your card and number.
Debit cards offer convenience and flexibility and have redefined how we bank and use our checking account funds. To learn more about why Mercer Savings Bank has been a trusted community bank for more than 125 years, and to learn more about our free Visa debit card, contact us today.