The debit card has revolutionized personal banking and how you access your accounts. The debit card not only saves you money by using fewer checks, but also allows you to make purchases without having to carry cash. With transactions running faster and more securely, if you don't already have a debit card, speak with a bank representative to find out how to get one.
Ease of Use
A debit card, sometimes called a check card, is directly tied to your checking account. When you swipe your debit card at a store, gas pump,or ATM, you are using the money in your checking account to pay. The debit card is easy to use because it is as simple as a swipe. Your transactions are faster because you don't have to count out cash or spend time writing a check.
Safety and Security
With a debit card, you have a personalized identification number, or PIN. When you swipe your card you have to type your PIN, which only you know, and your purchase is complete. Because you are the only one that knows your PIN, you are the only one who has immediate access to your money.
When you make a purchase you have two options for using your card: debit or credit. With the debit option you'll be required to use your PIN, but will also be asked if you would like cash back. This turns the checkout into an ATM, allowing you to get cash from your checking account.
If you select the credit option, which is best for large purchases, you will sign for the transaction rather than use your PIN. This option ensures a copy of your signature is on file with the store and your bank. Should some discrepancy arise with the transaction, or the item itself, you have signature proof that you bought it.
The newest feature to a debit card is the opportunity to slowly boost your savings anytime you spend money. For example, Bank of America will round up the transaction total and move the difference in change to your savings account. Wachovia will transfer an entire dollar to your savings with each debit card transaction. Consult your bank to see what programs are available for you and how to track them.
The best aspect of using a debit card is that you are working debt free. As you use your card write down your transactions in your checkbook, and subtract them from your available balance. You can't spend what you don't have. This allows you to make your purchases without owing anyone. Keep track of your balance, because your debit card won't refuse transactions for you.
- Talking Money; Jean Chatzky; 2002
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