Not all debit cards are created equal

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 05, 2017

A debit card is a debit card, right?  Not exactly. Some cards have more features --and more protections --than others.

For instance, some debit cards will help you look up a lost receipt, others won't. Some have a daily spending limit, cutting you off at 800 dollars, for instance.

 Some debit cards will shut down with a change in your routine, as a protection from fraud.

For example, if someone starts making multiple, big charges on the beaches of North Carolina or in Los Angeles, when you don't live there, the card may lock the account until you tell your bank you’re on vacation.

When it comes to fraud, here’s what you need to know. Federal protections for debit cards holders are not as consumer friendly as they are for credit card holders. With credit card fraud, the maximum liability is $50 dollars if the card is lost or stolen. But according to the consumer website, for debit cards…

  • If reported missing or stolen within two business days, the maximum liability is $50.
  • If reported missing or stolen within 60 days of the fraudulent charge appearing on your billing statement, the maximum liability is $500.
  • After those deadlines, the losses are unlimited.

And there’s something very practical to keep in mind about many debit cards. On signature based transactions, it can take a day or two for a purchase to show up.

For instance, if you buy a new TV or appliance and sign for it -- without a pin number -- that $500 purchase can take 48 hours to show up.

So remember, the balance may actually be less that what shows when you check your account online or at the ATM. A great reason to always keep some pad in your account so you Don’t Waste Your Money.