Mistakes To Avoid With Your Payment Cards

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 or MasterCard payment cards are accepted, potentially eliminating (or at least lowering) the need to carry a lot of cash.

However, there are some things that you shouldn’t do with your debit card. Here are some mistakes to avoid, according to mercersavings.com.

  • Not keeping a close eye on your balance

When you use your debit card for 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 the 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 fees.

  • 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 know the balance, and that both of your debit card transactions get recorded in your check register.

  • Writing the 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 the 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 cheque 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 account funds.

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