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Are you a debit or credit card user?

April 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Credit cards and debit cards may look the same, but they don't work the same. In fact, using your debit card in the wrong places could be disastrous to your bank account.Nearly every consumer has a debit card, but does that mean you should you use one? Sometimes a debit card is not the best choice. There are many places where it pays to leave the debit card in your wallet and use cash or credit.

If you shop a lot online and your card number gets hijacked then your bank account could get drained. And even if your bank limits your liability for fraudulent purchase to $50, you will still have the hassle of getting your money back into your bank account.

High ticket items like appliances and electronics, if something goes wrong with the product or the purchase you will have better dispute rights with a credit card than a debit card.

I've warned you before about thieves at restaurants who may have a credit card reader in their pocket that can capture all of the information on the magnetic stripe on your card, so they can make a counterfeit version of it.

Often restaurant employees are hired to do the theft when you pay your bill.

Sometimes when you make travel reservations, the agency debits your card immediately and then you're out the money immediately weeks or months ahead of your trip.

Some gas stations and some hotels will put a temporary bank hold on $50 to $100 or more of your money when you make a purchase or check in to the hotel.

One more thing to think about, the Federal Reserve does have a regulation that covers debit card transfers and sets the consumer's liability for fraudulent purchases at $50. But, you have to notify the bank within two days of discovering that your card or card number has been stolen.


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