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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308557  
Subject: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/13/2012 5:02 PM
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Another reason not to use debit cards:

Tennessee man charged $85,000 for a tank of gas
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/tennessee-man-charged-8...

Crockett was left out of financial resources, except for a $100 gift card that the Mapco gas station gave him to help him get by until the issue was resolved.

When News Channel 5 asked Citibank why it had locked Crockett out of his account and refused to cancel the purchase, an employee simply told Channel 5, "Because this is his account."

Crockett wasn't even able to access his weekly paycheck, which was directly deposited into the $84,000-overdrawn account.
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Author: 401kinvestor Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305562 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/13/2012 9:08 PM
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I'd close PERMANTLY at Citibank and tell them to 7734 and join a credit union instead.

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Author: xtn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305565 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 11:36 AM
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I'd close PERMANTLY at Citibank and tell them to 7734 and join a credit union instead.

It was the gas station's error, not Citibank's.

xtn

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Author: Globetraveler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305567 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 3:40 PM
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It was the gas station's error, not Citibank's.

While it might have been the gas station's error, Citibank's response was utterly pathetic. I expect my financial institution to help resolve problems, not to just lock the account and wash their hands of the issue.

It was an obvious error and Citibank could have been very aggressive against the gas station. Instead, they sat on their hands and watched one of their "valued" customer suffer.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305568 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 3:47 PM
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It was the gas station's error, not Citibank's.

xtn


Checking account balance approx $1,000

Transaction appox $85,000

Citibank should have REJECTED the transaction. Approval was stupid.

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305569 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 4:56 PM
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I thino you are both correct. The bank's marketing department must be cringing because the millions they spend promoting Citibank as an institution as a bank that cares about you the individual goes out the window when stories like this go viral, or worse find their way to the national media looking for weekend human interest filler.

Fuskie
Who thinks the VP of any customer service department should receive a negative bonus any time their department makes the news outside of a managed PR event...

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Author: xtn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305570 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 6:46 PM
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It was an obvious error and Citibank could have been very aggressive against the gas station. Instead, they sat on their hands and watched one of their "valued" customer suffer.

I doubt that is the case. I imagine they would want to do everything possible to get their $84,000 back, and probably hounded the gas station incessantly. I understand how from the account holder's point of view it would look like they locked him out for several days, but the fact is that until they got the money back, there was no money in the account anyway.

xtn

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Author: xtn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305571 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 6:48 PM
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Citibank should have REJECTED the transaction. Approval was stupid.

I agree it was stupid and unfortunate. The fact remains that the gas station's error caused the problem.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305572 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/14/2012 9:05 PM
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I agree it was stupid and unfortunate. The fact remains that the gas station's error caused the problem.

and maybe illegal.

It is necessary to opt in for the "courtesy overdraft protection." If he didn't, authorizing the transaction was illegal.

Agreed it was a mistake by the gas station, but I don't see how any bank could claim it was appropriate to authorize the transaction.

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Author: cabinsmama Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305573 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 9:46 AM
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And in praise of CCs, although it annoyed me at the time...I was at a gas station and wanted to buy $200 in gas cards with my CC. As soon as the transaction was rung up, it was declined. While the cashier was trying to figure out what to do and was checking with the manager, my cell phone rang--it was my CC company telling me that they had just declined a suspicious transaction and if I wanted the transaction to go through, press "1".

Later I learned that purchases of gas cards in large amounts is one of several flags that indicate someone may be trying to get as much use out of a stolen card as possible before it's cancelled.

I wonder why debit cards don't have flags for unusual charges. Maybe because the individual, not the issuing bank, is more on the hook for errors like this?

cm

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305574 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 10:16 AM
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It is necessary to opt in for the "courtesy overdraft protection." If he didn't, authorizing the transaction was illegal.


I read the article, and didn't see any mention of whether or not he had opted for the overdraft protection, so I don't know that we can make any assertions that the bank did any illegal by allowing the transaction.

This does reinforce again for me why I refuse to use debit cards, but I realize everyone is not the same as me and that other folks prefer debit cards to credit cards.

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Author: barneybetty Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305575 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 10:30 AM
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As a followup

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/19014827/more-residents-fi...

NewsChannel 5 Investigates has now found others facing the same troubles, yet Mapco has been unwilling to answer questions about exactly what's causing the problem.

and

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/19023663/company-says-16-m...

Now, oil company BP, Mapco's business partner, tells us that 16 customers here all had the same problem in the last 10 days or so. BP processes debit card transactions for Mapco.

...

For two days, Mapco refused to tell us how widespread the problem was.

Finally, when we talked with BP late Friday afternoon, we were able to verify that this was a bigger problem than originally thought.


BB

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305576 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 11:06 AM
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It is necessary to opt in for the "courtesy overdraft protection." If he didn't, authorizing the transaction was illegal.

Agreed it was a mistake by the gas station, but I don't see how any bank could claim it was appropriate to authorize the transaction.


It is a very typical practice for gas stations to authorize a gas purchase transaction for only $1. I have a couple of cards that show me 'pending transactions' and whenever I purchase gas, the 'pending transaction' only shows $1, even when I actually purchased $30, $40 or more, in gas. It's only when the purchase actually posts to the account that bank is made aware of the actual amount of the charge.

In this case, it appears that the gas station's mistake was made in transmitting the purchase amount, and not the authorizing amount. If the gas station had tried to get authorization for an $84k+ purchse, I suspect that it would have been declined, even if he had opted in for 'courtesy overdraft protection', as very few consumer checking overdraft limits would be set at $85k or more.

I will say that Citi probably should have flagged the posted transaction for further review once the gas station sent the amount in, even to the point of not posting it to the customer's account until it was reviewed. Citi also should have been more responsive to the customer when he alerted them to the issue. But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

AJ

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305577 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 11:25 AM
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I never use debit cards. I stopped using mine 5 years ago, when I somehow accidentally got charged $6.08 for a cancelled transaction at my grocery. I never did get it fixed, but it was enough to make me put my debit card away forever (except at the ATM).

Dave Ramsey is always going on about how Visa/MC branded debit cards are exactly the same as credit cards in terms of protections. But in fact that isn't exactly the reality. First of all PIN transactions aren't treated the same way, legally. And secondly, you still have to rely on the bank intervening to do the right thing. Fighting it, even if you end up at the same place in the end, seems to be way more complicated and confusing with debit cards than credit cards.

Easier and safer just to use CC's.

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Author: determinedmom Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305578 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 12:36 PM
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Easier and safer just to use CC's.


If 2 criteria are met I agree with you:

1. You can get a credit card. Not everyone can. My 18 year old son doesn't have the income to get a credit card. But he doesn't want to carry cash around with him all the time so he uses his debit card. We are actually going to add him as a user on one of our credit cards for when we send him to buy things that we will pay for (so far his use of money has been responsible enough that I feel OK doing this).

2. You can get a credit card but you can't control your spending with it and end up spending more than you can afford to spend. If you can control your spending with a debit card then the debit card is a reasonable choice (some can't do that either so debit cards are not a good choice).

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305579 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 2:56 PM
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My 18 year old son doesn't have the income to get a credit card. But he doesn't want to carry cash around with him all the time so he uses his debit card.

There are still those really old fashioned things called checks. :-)

I have seen several merchants that have signs posted that they refuse to take checks, so there may still be a need to carry some cash, especially if you are going to a merchant that you don't know accepts checks. But I would write a check rather than swipe my debit card any day.

AJ

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305580 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 3:51 PM
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But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

Debit cards have daily spending limits, which are far less than $85,000. I had the opposite impression for gas stations aurthorizaion, that a limit of around $75 is authorized.

But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

Whichever of Citibank's processes failed, Citibank should never have cleared the transaction.

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305581 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 4:14 PM
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aj485,

You wrote, There are still those really old fashioned things called checks. :-)

I have seen several merchants that have signs posted that they refuse to take checks, so there may still be a need to carry some cash, especially if you are going to a merchant that you don't know accepts checks. But I would write a check rather than swipe my debit card any day.


I would agree, except that even checks are a pretty big security risk. It's just that not many people do check forging fraud any more.

A lot of the so-called Nigerian scams are based on check fraud that uses some US intermediary to cash the check. It's not like that kind of fraud is completely dead - they just tend to target large corporate accounts so the fraud won't be detected too quickly. Even so I'd be careful about who you give a check because someone unscrupulous could wash the check or just use the account numbers to do an ETF transaction.

Debit cards are a bigger risk simply because it is quicker, easier and more anonymous to use a stolen credit or debit card than to try to get a check accepted.

- Joel

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305582 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 4:30 PM
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I will say that Citi probably should have flagged the posted transaction for further review once the gas station sent the amount in, even to the point of not posting it to the customer's account until it was reviewed. Citi also should have been more responsive to the customer when he alerted them to the issue. But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

I think that is what we're seeing as the problem with debit cards. Your bank account can get wiped out, and if the bank, as with Citibank, doesn't seem too anxious to resolve the problem, you can be in real trouble. Even if they have guarantees, you're still stuck. In this case the guy couldn't even access his paycheck, since it was on direct deposit.

The only problem I really see with checks is that a lot of places will not accept an out-of-state check. A friend had given up on her credit cards (she had discovered that she thought of credit cards as being magic money, and decided to avoid them) but couldn't buy something while she was on vacation. So I put it on my credit card, then she wrote the check to me.

Nancy

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305583 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 4:34 PM
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Debit cards have daily spending limits, which are far less than $85,000. I had the opposite impression for gas stations aurthorizaion, that a limit of around $75 is authorized.

But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

Whichever of Citibank's processes failed, Citibank should never have cleared the transaction.


There would be an automatic stop for any credit card transaction of that nature (except, of course, for the rare person who often bought very expensive items) and the transaction would be questioned. I'm surprised that there isn't some sort of automatic stop for a debit purchase that is way out of line.

Nancy

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305584 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/15/2012 5:20 PM
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Debit cards have daily spending limits, which are far less than $85,000. I had the opposite impression for gas stations aurthorizaion, that a limit of around $75 is authorized.

Well, at least at the gas stations that we used recently on vacation (across 6 states), and the ones that we use around here, the authorization that gets communicated to the credit card company appears to be $1 every time I purchase gas. However, many stations also set limits on how much a single gas purchase can be - I have often seen these between $75 and $125, depending on the type of card.

In either case, whether it was a $1 or $75 authorization, the $84k+ amount posted was so much above whatever the authorized amount would have been, and such an unusally high amount from a gas station, that it should have been flagged for some type of review before posting the transaction.

However, with debit cards, since the customer isn't legally protected like they are with credit cards, and it's the customer's own money that is at risk, customers are more likely suffer financial issues if the bank's processes fail when merchants make mistakes. Which is why this is one more example of why not to use debit cards.

But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

Whichever of Citibank's processes failed, Citibank should never have cleared the transaction.

Don't disagree. That's why the whole paragraph said I will say that Citi probably should have flagged the posted transaction for further review once the gas station sent the amount in, even to the point of not posting it to the customer's account until it was reviewed. Citi also should have been more responsive to the customer when he alerted them to the issue. But, given how gas transactions are generally authorized, I doubt that Citi's 'authorization' process was at fault. Rather, it was their posting review process (or lack thereof).

AJ

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Author: MetroChick Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305591 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 10:46 AM
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I used my debit card almost exclusively a few years ago when I was paying off CC debt - IMO it was easier (and cheaper) to do that rather than put new charges on a CC that I would be charged interest on.

I also went back to using my debit card almost exclusively when I was shopping for a house, so that a monthly run-up in credit card useage that I knew I was going to pay in-full (but a mortgage company not necessarily know that) wouldn't look like "revolving" debt. But even at that time I used my cc for gas purchases, since gas stations typically put about a $75 "hold" on your account when you first swipe your card, since they don't know how much gas you're going to buy. Plus other than my bank's ATM, I don't like using outside card swipes for debt purchases - just seem easier for scammers to tamper with.

Obviously some crazy things can happen with either debit or cc purchases - but I'm not going to let one vast $85,000 outlier issue sway which meathod I want to use

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305597 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 1:22 PM
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Obviously some crazy things can happen with either debit or cc purchases - but I'm not going to let one vast $85,000 outlier issue sway which meathod I want to use

The $85K issue is unusual. Not as unusual as Citibank would like you to believe, but still unusual. There is a problem with their software that is allowing ridiculous transactions to be processed.

The problems with using debit cards are more mundane. If you don't keep a significant balance in your account, the holds that are placed can cause overdraft issues. Double posting isn't the problem it use to be, but still happens when communication problems makes it unclear if the transaction processed. When Albertson stores were hit with skimmers, banks were initially refusing to cover the losses because a PIN was used.

There are risks to everything. If you understand the risks of debit cards, it is your choice whether or not to use them.

The problem is that many customers believe bank's advertising, and don't understand the risks.

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Author: DontBeLate One star, 50 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305598 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 1:30 PM
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When Albertson stores were hit with skimmers, banks were initially refusing to cover the losses because a PIN was used.

If a debit card is used as a credit card (swipe the card, and select "credit card" when prompted for payment type; transaction is completed w/o entering a PIN), which regulations apply, those for credit cards, or those for debit cards?

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Author: determinedmom Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305601 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 3:04 PM
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There are still those really old fashioned things called checks. :-)

I have seen several merchants that have signs posted that they refuse to take checks, so there may still be a need to carry some cash, especially if you are going to a merchant that you don't know accepts checks. But I would write a check rather than swipe my debit card any day.


I don't disagree with you and I write a check rather than use a debit card myself. I think I used a debit card once in the past couple of years when I had left my credit card at home (took out to make online purchase), had left my checkbook at home (writing a rare check at home), had no cash, and needed to make a small purchase.

But, I think the paper check versus debit card ship has sailed particularly where young people are concerned. I don't think many young people see paper checks as a particularly viable way to make payments and there is no way they carry around a checkbook.

I entirely agree about the risk of debit cards but I think the ultimate solution is to do things that lessen those risks because I don't think paper checks are coming back.

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305603 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 4:05 PM
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DontBeLate,

You wrote, If a debit card is used as a credit card (swipe the card, and select "credit card" when prompted for payment type; transaction is completed w/o entering a PIN), which regulations apply, those for credit cards, or those for debit cards?

Reg E rules apply. Plus any contract guarantees the bank makes and occasionally state banking regulations. Be careful not to read more into those guarantees than is really there.

Credit card rules don't apply to debit cards - at least they're not enforceable under any federal statute I'm aware of.

- Joel
Who is not a lawyer.

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305610 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 7:28 PM
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determinedmom,

You wrote, I don't disagree with you and I write a check rather than use a debit card myself. I think I used a debit card once in the past couple of years when I had left my credit card at home (took out to make online purchase), had left my checkbook at home (writing a rare check at home), had no cash, and needed to make a small purchase.

Of course from a fraud / risk view point, carrying a debit card around is at least as risky as carrying a checkbook around. And because it's less bulky, it's probably easier to lose.

With that said, sometimes you have to take risks in life. It's just that people often fail to consider the costs associated with the risks they take and whether or not a less risky alternative might have been just as good...

- Joel

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 305613 of 308557
Subject: Re: Another reason to not use debit Date: 7/16/2012 9:46 PM
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Of course from a fraud / risk view point, carrying a debit card around is at least as risky as carrying a checkbook around. And because it's less bulky, it's probably easier to lose.

Not if it an ATM only, and providing you don't write the PIN on it. The credit option makes the card far more dangerous if lost or stolen.

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