Debit Cards
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Debit Cards

Debit cards are very convenient without the danger of debt ...

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Debit cards are basically electronic checks. They are directly linked to your checking account. Newer debit cards have the Visa or Mastercard logo, so they can be used as a credit card to make purchases. When the store electronically contacts your bank, instead of checking a credit limit (as with credit cards), the bank checks to see if you have enough in your checking account to cover the purchase.

The money immediately comes out of your checking account. You do not pay interest with debit cards because you are not obtaining a loan from the bank for the amount. You are simply transferring funds from your checking account.

Debit cards are very convenient without the danger of debt. Unfortunately, it's easy to lose track of your purchases and end up overdrawn. You also have a little less protection when it comes to unauthorized charges. Most banks require you to report your card stolen within 2 days to avoid charges, and some will require a $50 payment even if you report it within 2 days. If you wait 30 - 60 days to report your card stolen, you could be liable for $500-$1000. If you wait more than 60 days, you're likely to be liable for all unauthorized charges!

From: Understanding credit and credit cards

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