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Online Debit Cards – Online Debit Cards – an Improved Atm CardAuthor: Franklin Rogers
Online debit cards are typically a stepped up version of an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) card. These are used to purchase goods and services in the same way that they are used in ATM transactions. As soon as the transaction is complete, the funds are electronically transferred from your individual bank account to the bank account of the business. Most checkout stations have a computerized pin pad system that allows you to swipe your card and enter your four digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) just like you would do at an ATM. The system verifies that you have the funds available in your account to pay for the goods or services.
Offline debit cards are different types of cards than online debit cards. These types of cards will typically look just like a traditional credit card and the transaction will follow the same process as a credit card transaction. The merchant’s check out station will read your card information and determine that it is a debit card rather than a credit card. It will then generate a debit to your bank account. The key difference is that it will not debit your account immediately. It typically takes about 2 to 3 days for the debit to be applied to your banking account. The majority of the offline debit card transactions are electronically verified to determine if there is enough money in your account to pay for the purchases. A consumer will sign a receipt, similar to a credit card receipt, instead of entering a PIN number into the pin pad device.
The differences between online debit cards and an offline debit cards can be confusing. There are some things to consider before you decide which card will work best for you. For example, does your financial institution charge a transaction fee for purchases made with the debit card and do they charge a monthly fee to use the car? Many merchants only accept cards that require a PIN number to complete the transaction, so this something else you will want to take into consideration. Finally, some people prefer that the online debit card features and the offline debit card features are on two separate cards rather than have both features on one card.
Owners of both online debit cards and offline debit cards, have a responsibility to maintain the security of the card. If your card is stolen, notify your financial institution immediately. If you think that you card number may have been stolen online, report this to your financial institution as well. Keep your receipts in a safe place. Thieves have been to use the information found on debit card receipts to make purchases online or over the phone. Always keep in mind that your card can be in your wallet and still be used fraudulently in cyberspace.About the Author:
Facts You Might not Know About Debit CardsAuthor: Carl Smith
America is quickly becoming a cashless society. Whereas it would have seemed odd, or even in poor taste to do so in the past, people routinely use plastic to pay for even the smallest purchases, such as a Slurpee from 7-Eleven. Almost all gas stations allow you to "pay at the pump," and even fast food restaurants began accepting "debit or credit" a few years ago. And that's not to mention the millions of cashless transactions that occur every day in cyberspace, through web sites like eBay, Amazon.com, and other popular e-tailers.
Clearly, having some form of cashless payment is essential to being a fully functioning American consumer these days, and millions of people are opting to use a debit card attached to their checking accounts rather than traditional credit cards. Is this a wise move?
Dr. Jekyll's Lovely Little Debit Card
The primary advantage of debit cards is that they give you access to cash. A little known fact about cash advances on traditional credit cards is that they begin accruing interest from the moment you get your hands on the money. This means that even if you paid last month's bill in full, you will still have interest charges on your next bill whenever you take out a cash advance. Debit cards allow you access to cash through ATM's at no interest - after all, it's your money.
The other major benefit of debit cards is that they're an option for credit constrained consumers. While it may seem like credit card companies will give cards to anyone, the truth is that once you make a serious mistake - such as falling behind on your card for a few consecutive months, resulting in a "charge off" - it can be very difficult to qualify for credit again anytime soon. Since some form of plastic is required for so many of life's necessities, debit cards offer these people a means of remaining viable members of our cashless society.
Mr. Hyde's "Instrument of Financial Death"
But there is a downside to debit cards, too. Consumer advocate, Howard Strong, even refers to debit cards as "financial death" cards. While his perspective may be a little over the top, he does cite several disadvantages of debit card usage in his 1999 book, What Every Credit Card User Needs to Know.
First, by using a debit card, you lose the advantage of using the credit card company's money interest free. This interest free period occurs from the time you make a purchase until the due date of your bill. If, for example, you used your credit card to buy a $2,500 sofa the day after receiving your statement, you would then have more than 30 days to come up with the $2,500 before being charged interest. If you used a debit card, you would have $2,500 sucked out of your account the moment you made the purchase.
Secondly, using a debit card typically has no positive impact on your credit. Credit card companies report payment information to the three major credit bureaus each and every month. When you pay your bills on time, it has a positive effect on your credit score. Debit cards don't utilize credit, so there's nothing for the bank to report - unless, of course, you overdraw your bank account and then are unwilling or unable to pay whatever egregious fees the bank charges. In this way, using a debit card can have a negative effect on your credit.
Finally, using a debit card puts you at more risk than using a credit card because it is easier to "stop payment" of erroneous or fraudulent charges with a credit card. When Mr. Strong wrote his book in 1999, this was more of a problem than it is today, since much has been done to improve the security of electronic transactions. Still, the fact remains that someone could use your debit card to empty out your bank account, and while you would almost certainly get your money back, it could take some time. Since credit cards have no ability to draw on your savings or checking, this possibility doesn't exist with them.
The Reality - You Need Both
If you can qualify for a credit card, even at a high interest rate, you should almost definitely have one. After all, credit cards help you build credit and the interest rate is irrelevant if you're responsible and pay your bills in full and on time. You should also have a debit card for getting cash quickly and easily without the up-front interest that credit cards charge on cash advances.
If you're really worried about the "Mr. Hyde" effects of debit card usage, consider opening a separate account tied to your debit card. You can set up automatic weekly or monthly transactions that move money from your primary account to this special account, so that the amount you could lose is always limited to $200, $500, or whatever you decide.
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