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The Dangers of Using a Debit Card

7 06 2010

Source:Yahoo Finance
by Kathy Kristof
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Consumers need to be particularly careful during vacation season because identity thieves come out in droves. That makes it pivotal that consumers keep their debit cards on ice, said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearing House and one of the nation’s foremost experts on keeping your private information private.

What makes debit cards so dangerous? Givens has so many reasons, her organization has put out an exhaustive fact sheet on whether you should use cash, credit or debit cards when shopping. (The report also explains the shortcomings of gift cards.)

Here’s the short version of the dangers of debit:

1. Loss Limits

Like credit cards, federal law limits your liability for fraudulent transactions on a debit card to $50. But that’s only if you notify your financial institution within two days of discovering the theft. If you’re a space cadet and don’t check your bank statements for a couple of months, you could lose everything.

2. Pay Now/Reimburse Later

If someone has fraudulently used your credit card, you don’t have to pay the charge. But when somebody has fraudulently used your debit card, the money comes directly out of your account in real time. That means you’re out the money while the bank does a leisurely examination of their records to investigate your fraud claim. Many consumers complaining to Privacy Rights Clearing House said they lost access to their funds for several weeks. In the meantime, they were caught short and unable to pay their bills, Givens said.

3. Merchant Disputes

The same problem affects merchant disputes. If you pay with a credit card when ordering something online, and that product comes damaged, broken or not at all, you can dispute the charge and stop payment with your credit card. If you used your debit card, the charge is paid when you made the order. By the time you find out the goods weren’t what was advertised, the merchant has your cash and you’re in the unenviable position of having to fight to get your money back.

4. Phantom Charges

If you use a credit card at a hotel, the hotel takes an imprint when you check in, but doesn’t charge your card until you check out. It’s a far different story with a debit card. Generally, hotels will put a “hold” on funds in your account for more than you’re spending. Yes, more. They hold the full amount of your stay, plus an estimated amount for “incidentals,” such as meals at the hotel restaurant and dipping into the mini-bar. This is not an actual charge–the hold will come off your account at the end of your stay. But it affects the available balance in your checking account anyway and can lead to overdrafts. One consumer said these phantom charges cost him $140 in overdraft fees. These “holds” are commonly placed on debit card transactions made at hotels, gas stations and rental car companies.

5. Overdrafts, Overdrafts and More Overdrafts

Overdraft charges have been soaring in recent years and the vast majority of consumers who pay them explain that their overdraft was the result of a debit card transaction. Many consumers naively assumed that if they didn’t have sufficient funds in their accounts, their bank wouldn’t approve a debit swipe. But they were wrong. The result: a $4 coffee could trigger a $35 overdraft fee. Government regulators are reigning in these fees by demanding that banks give consumers a chance to “opt out” of automatic overdraft protection, but that doesn’t start for existing accounts until August. (If you have a new account, it’s starts in July.)

6. Skimming

Financial crooks have gotten sophisticated in recent years and are using “skimming” machines to read your card data and charge your account, Givens said. When your debit card is skimmed, your bank account can be drained before you know that you’ve been had.





10 Places NOT to Use Your Debit Card

21 03 2010

Sumber:http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/109125/10-places-not-to-use-your-debit-card?mod=bb-checking_savings
by Dana Dratch
Friday, March 19, 2010
Debit cards have different protections and uses. Sometimes they’re not the best choice.

Sometimes reaching for your wallet is like a multiple choice test: How do you really want to pay?

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• Debit Card Users Now More Protected From Fraud, Study Says

While credit cards and debit cards may look almost identical, not all plastic is the same.

“It’s important that consumers understand the difference between a debit card and a credit card,” says John Breyault, director of the Fraud Center for the National Consumers League, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group. “There’s a difference in how the transactions are processed and the protections offered to consumers when they use them.”

While debit cards and credit cards each have advantages, each is also better suited to certain situations. And since a debit card is a direct line to your bank account, there are places where it can be wise to avoid handing it over — if for no other reason than complete peace of mind.

Here are 10 places and situations where it can pay to leave that debit card in your wallet:

1. Online

“You don’t use a debit card online,” says Susan Tiffany, director of consumer periodicals for the Credit Union National Association. Since the debit card links directly to a checking account, “you have potential vulnerability there,” she says.

Her reasoning: If you have problems with a purchase or the card number gets hijacked, a debit card is “vulnerable because it happens to be linked to an account,” says Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. She also includes phone orders in this category.

The Federal Reserve’s Regulation E (commonly dubbed Reg E), covers debit card transfers. It sets a consumer’s liability for fraudulent purchases at $50, provided they notify the bank within two days of discovering that their card or card number has been stolen.

Most banks have additional voluntary policies that set their own customers’ liability with debit cards at $0, says Nessa Feddis, vice president and senior counsel for the American Bankers Association.

But the protections don’t relieve consumers of hassle: The prospect of trying to get money put back into their bank account, and the problems that a lower-than-expected balance can cause in terms of fees and refused checks or payments, make some online shoppers reach first for credit cards.

2. Big-Ticket Items

With a big ticket item, a credit card is safer, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. A credit card offers dispute rights if something goes wrong with the merchandise or the purchase, she says.

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“With a debit card, you have fewer protections,” she says.

In addition, some cards will also offer extended warrantees. And in some situations, such as buying electronics or renting a car, some credit cards also offer additional property insurance to cover the item.

Two caveats, says Wu. Don’t carry a balance. Otherwise, you also risk paying some high-ticket interest. And “avoid store cards with deferred interest,” Wu advises.

3. Deposit Required

When Peter Garuccio recently rented some home improvement equipment at a big-box store, it required a sizable deposit. “This is where you want to use a credit card instead of a debit,” says Garuccio, spokesman for the national trade group American Bankers Association.

That way, the store has its security deposit, and you still have access to all of the money in your bank account. With any luck, you’ll never actually have to part with a dollar.

4. Restaurants

“To me, it’s dangerous,” says Gary Foreman, editor of the frugality minded Web site The Dollar Stretcher. “You have so many people around.”

Foreman bases his conclusions on what he hears from readers. “Anecdotally, the cases that I’m hearing of credit or debit information being stolen, as often as not, it’s in a restaurant,” he says.

The danger: Restaurants are one of the few places where you have to let cards leave your sight when you use them. But others think that avoiding such situations is not workable.

The “conventional advice of ‘don’t let the card out of your sight’ — that’s just not practical,” says Tiffany.

The other problem with using a debit card at restaurants: Some establishments will approve the card for more than your purchase amount because, presumably, you intend to leave a tip. So the amount of money frozen for the transaction could be quite a bit more than the amount of your tab. And it could be a few days before you get the cash back in your account.

5. You’re a New Customer

Online or in the real world, if you’re a first-time customer in a store, skip the debit card the first couple of times you buy, says Breyault.

That way, you get a feel for how the business is run, how you’re treated and the quality of the merchandise before you hand over a card that links to your checking account.

6. Buy Now, Take Delivery Later

Buying now but taking delivery days or weeks from now? A credit card offers dispute rights that a debit card typically does not.

“It may be an outfit you’re familiar with and trust, but something might go wrong,” says Breyault, “and you need protection.”

But be aware that some cards will limit the protection to a specific time period, says Feddis. So settle any problems as soon as possible.

7. Recurring Payments

We’ve all heard the urban legend about the gym that won’t stop billing an ex-member’s credit card. Now imagine the charges aren’t going onto your card, but instead coming right out of your bank account.

Another reason not to use the debit card for recurring charges: your own memory and math skills. Forget to deduct that automatic bill payment from your checkbook one month, and you could either face fees or embarrassment (depending on whether you’ve opted to allow overdrafting or not). So if you don’t keep a cash buffer in your account, “to protect yourself from over-limit fees, you may want to think about using a credit card” for recurring payments, says Breyault.

8. Future Travel

Book your travel with a check card, and “they debit it immediately,” says Foley. So if you’re buying travel that you won’t use for six months or making a reservation for a few weeks from now, you’ll be out the money immediately.

Another factor that bothers Foley: Hotels aren’t immune to hackers and data breaches, and several name-brand establishments have suffered the problem recently. Do you want your debit card information “to sit in a system for four months, waiting for you to arrive?” she asks. “I would not.”

9. Gas Stations and Hotels

This one depends on the individual business. Some gas stations and hotels will place holds to cover customers who may leave without settling the entire bill. That means that even though you only bought $10 in gas, you could have a temporary bank hold for $50 to $100, says Tiffany.

Ditto hotels, where there are sometimes holds or deposits in the hundreds to make sure you don’t run up a long distance bill, empty the mini bar or trash the room. The practice is almost unnoticeable if you’re using credit, but can be problematic if you’re using a debit card and have just enough in the account to cover what you need.

At hotels, ask about deposits and holds before you present your card, says Feddis. At the pump, select the pin-number option, she says, which should debit only the amount you’ve actually spent.

10. Checkouts or ATMs That Look ‘Off’

Criminals are getting better with skimmers and planting them in places you’d never suspect — like ATM machines on bank property, says Foley.

So take a good look at the machine or card reader the next time you use an ATM or self-check lane, she advises. Does the machine fit together well or does something look off, different or like it doesn’t quite belong? Says Foley, “Make sure it doesn’t look like it’s been tampered with.”





Hati-hati risiko guna kad debit

11 01 2010

Pemegang kad debit menghadapi risiko hilang semua simpanan dalam akaun tanpa jaminan bank jika kad itu disalahgunakan oleh pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab, kata Gabungan Persatuan- persatuan Pengguna Malaysia (Fomca). Setiausah agungnya Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah berkata sindiket penipuan boleh mencuri data pemilik kad untuk diklon sebagai kad debit palsu untuk membeli barangan, lapor Bernama.

Tambahnya, kerana kad debit disambung terus kepada akaun pemegang kad dan sebarang pembelian menggunakannya, wang akan ditolak serta-merta daripada akaun pengguna. “Ini bermakna risiko terletak sepenuhnya pada pemegang kad debit dan bank tidak bertanggungjawab atas sebarang kerugian yang dialami oleh pemegang akibat penyalahgunaan kad berkenaan,” beliau dipetik berkata hari ini.

Berbeza dengan pengguna kad kredit yang mendapat jaminan tertentu bank, pemilik kad debit tidak mendapat jaminan sedemikian. “Jika kad kredit disalahgunakan oleh pihak tertentu, maka pemegang boleh mempertikaikan jumlah perbelanjaan dan menuntut semula bayaran dari bank,” katanya. Muhamad Sha’ani, yang juga ketua eksekutif Pusat Perkhidmatan Aduan Pengguna Nasional (NCCC), menambah bank tempatan membuat promosi kad debit secara agresif sejak tahun lepas dan pengguna perlu berwaspada untuk memilikinya. Bagaimanapun sumber perbankan menjelaskan, risiko kad debit adalah minima apabila digunakan dalam negara kerana penggunaannya berdasarkan tandatangan pemegang dan kad mempunyai cip keselamatan.

Tambahnya, seperti dipetik agensi berita itu, pemegang kad debit tidak perlu berhutang untuk berbelanja kerana mereka hanya dapat berbelanja mengikut jumlah simpanan dalam akaun sahaja. “Ini membantu mendisiplinkan pengguna dari segi perbelanjaan yang tidak perlu atau menanggung hutang berlebihan,” kata sumber yang tidak didedahkan identitinya. Kad debit itu baik untuk bank kerana mereka tidak perlu memberi sebarang kredit kepada pemegang dan sekali gus mengurangkan risiko pinjaman tidak berbayar, tambahnya.

Sumber: http://malaysiakini.com/news/97258