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Debit Cards? So What?

By Will from Holland

You're smart if you use one, that's what. With a debit card, you are spending your own cash. With a credit card, you are always borrowing cash from strangers and paying interest on that cash—at times, massive amounts of interest.

Debit cards can pretty much be used like credit cards. I travel the world with just a debit card in my pocket.

But are there downsides to debit cards?

Check this out: You're hanging with your buddies at the mall. You get some eats, buy some clothes, catch a movie and who knows what. You swipe your debit card.

Before you know it, within a week's time, you've swiped your card 27 times.

What's the problem with that?!

Well, if you swiped your card 27 times, you've probably lost track of how much money you have in your checking account, right?

And if that's the case, you could easily be on your way to overdrawing your debit card account. You've probably spent more money than you had in your account.

So why is that such a big deal?

Overdrawing your account with your debit card is just like bouncing a check (writing a check for more money then you have in your account). And overdrawing your account too many times can ruin your year, your credit, and your job opportunities, for starters.

Who's stupid enough to overdraw an account? You could be, if you don't pay attention and understand a few debit card realities. Check this out:

  • If you use your debit card at any place other than your credit union or bank's ATM, you will probably be charged a fee. And those fees can cost you as much as $4.00 per use at some places.
  • You've used your card twenty times this week—and paid a fee each time.
  • The total fees are higher than your balance in your account. Bingo! You're overdrawn. It's that easy.
  • Being overdrawn means you probably will be charged a penalty fee from $20 to $70 dollars each time!

So how do you avoid "stupid?"

First, don't draw money from ATMs that charge you a fee. We have thousands of places for you to get your cash.*

More importantly: Start banking online! And check your real balance every day.

Need help on how to make all this work?

Please contact us or simply walk into one of our branches. And we will help you get started!

Cheers, Will

* Free ATMs through credit unions:

Credit unions are financial cooperatives, and that means they work in partnership with their members and with other credit unions. Through that cooperation, credit unions can offer a huge network of free ATMs. As a member, you have convenient access to:

- 25,000 free ATMs in the U.S.
- 5,500 7-Eleven locations throughout the U.S. and Canada
- 800,000 ATMs worldwide
- More than 2,500 lobby locations in the U.S.

Find free ATMs.