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Old 12-23-2010, 10:57 AM   #21
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My card is dual-purpose. I can use it as a debit card (when I use a pin) or a credit card when I use my signature. Either way it's tied to my checking account. I write exactly two checks a month. The rest is 79% debit card usage and 20% credit card, typically at the grocery stories or for fuel. I'd carry cash but I go through it too fast What I don't do is use it at a non-bank ATM. Too much skimming going on to want to take the risk. YMMV
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:13 AM   #22
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My card is dual-purpose. I can use it as a debit card (when I use a pin) or a credit card when I use my signature. Either way it's tied to my checking account. I write exactly two checks a month. The rest is 79% debit card usage and 20% credit card, typically at the grocery stories or for fuel. I'd carry cash but I go through it too fast What I don't do is use it at a non-bank ATM. Too much skimming going on to want to take the risk. YMMV
Same here. The fact you can use yours Donna is intreasting, perhaps the problem I have is related to the card not having a US Bank name on it which throws the store clerks off. It does have a chip and a pin. But again its seems strange when I tell the store clerk its a debit card they often get a puzzled look and dont seem to know what that means and I get told they take Credit cards only. Hummmmm
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Old 12-23-2010, 11:38 AM   #23
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Our debit card carries a Visa logo so as with Donna's it can be used as either.

Carol I think the problem with your card is you ask......not just swipe it in the machine and use your PIN. I think that the clerks are not the brightest bulbs on the tree and most are young and have no idea how the "money system" works. There are so many banks that I doubt it is that it's not a US bank, how would they know?

Here we "pay at the pump" at almost all stations, I know that varies from state to state.
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:09 PM   #24
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My debit card is through a local credit union and displays the Visa logo, just like Lizbeth's. I could have gotten one with a MasterCard logo, it was a choice. Nowhere on the card does it say "debit." It looks and acts like a credit card, except as I said, when I use my pin. Sometime after the first of the year, I'm going to take my own advice and get a prepaid debit card. The world is getting meaner and I would just as soon protect my credit, assets and identity. I shop online through Amazon, eBay, etc. For me, I think prepaid is the way to go.
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Old 12-23-2010, 03:47 PM   #25
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Prepaid Debit Cards

I just did some research on these and came away shaking my head. There are a number of issues with these cards; the biggest one is these cards are unregulated in the US.

If you have followed recent news you will know that legislation has passed that regulates the credit card industry. The big credit card companies and banks are worried that the credit card cash cow may be drying up. Prepaid Debit Cards are the new profit center for the financial industry.

What makes them money? First, the fee to purchase the card. Second, annual fees. Third, fees to make a deposit. Fourth, a fee for every payment. The list goes in. Now not all cards charge fees for these services and they charge a variety of rates, but you need to know going in what fees will be. Finding those fees ahead of time can be difficult.

These cards are really designed for those who do not have a bank. They are a very expensive method to bank. Particularly problematic are those issued by little known institutions such as Green Dot, Net Spend etc.

Here is a link to a New York Time article on the cards:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/yo...pagewanted=all

Now remember not all debit cards are created equal, what I am talking about here are prepaid debit cards, you may have debit card issued by your local financial institution that is a completely different animal. What is important is for you to find out ahead of time what fees you are going to encounter.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:46 PM   #26
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Paul, you're absolutely right. Prepaid debit cards are like cell phones. Charges to use and to buy, yearly contracts vary and coverage can be from great to really, really bad. It's like anything.... read the FINE print. If you're interested in prepaid debit cards the first place to check is your OWN banking institution. My credit union has a card available for students. It's a way for parents to make certain their child has money available, but won't go into massive debt buying pizza for an entire dorm or a Bose music system for their room. The card really isn't just for students, but the $$ charged is determined by the amount of money in accounts. Kinda like what they charge for checking account, zero to $15 a month depending on checking/savings totals. As I've said YMMV.
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:38 PM   #27
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I have just read in a magazine that when asked for zip code at US gas pumps, if the three numbers in our Canadian Postal codes followed by two zeros are entered then the card will be accepted. Can anyone verify this?Having to go into the gas station and leave wallet,credit card, cash or wife as security is a bit of a pain.
For the last two years we have stayed in Texas during the winter and found our Canadian debit cards are widely accepted. The few stations that are problematic soon become obvious and we just don't go there. We also found it easy to get cash back on a debit card at Wal-Mart so we don't typically feel it necessary to carry much cash anymore.
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:55 PM   #28
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My debit card is through a local credit union and displays the Visa logo, just like Lizbeth's. I could have gotten one with a MasterCard logo, it was a choice. Nowhere on the card does it say "debit." It looks and acts like a credit card, except as I said, when I use my pin. Sometime after the first of the year, I'm going to take my own advice and get a prepaid debit card. The world is getting meaner and I would just as soon protect my credit, assets and identity. I shop online through Amazon, eBay, etc. For me, I think prepaid is the way to go.
As someone who does a lot of travel, I sometimes use my debit card to get money out of ATM's in foreign countries. This always worried me until I came up with an easy solution. The first step is make your card so you can only withdraw money out of your checking account, not your savings account. Then keep most of your money in savings and use the internet to move it to checking as you need it. I try to make sure that the most I can ever lose is a couple hundred.
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:37 AM   #29
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I use my debit card at bank atms only. There is far less risk of getting your e-identity stolen/hacked at banks than at privately operated atms. That being said, the reason I use a Visa or MC creditcard is that I am not liable for fraudulent purchases on a pirated Visa / MC card, whereas on a pirated/hacked debit card...too bad...money's gone from your account!
Having had my credit card # stolen a few times (Isuspect by being double-swiped on an under-counter reader) I never let my card out of my sight. I will accompany a waitress to the card station , and will not let a sales person take the card back in to "the office".
I do notify the card companies before our three month snowbird stay...and thus they are able to spot any unusual activity an won't freeze my card for US purchases. I realize I take a hit on the transaction fee from $US to $Cda, but that is the price to pay for accessing the floating exchange rate and having secure purchasing.
We also travel with a minimum of three cards so that a compromised card won't disrupt our travels.
On a slightly different note, I built a little "safe"in our trailer for our passports and cash in a hard to reach and not visible to the quick-toss type of thief. It won't stop someone who guts our trailer...but a bad guy will need a lot of time and patience...something most quick smash & grab types don't have.
Safe travels and a Happy New Year fellow travellers....We hit the road in 15 days :-0
Alistair & Inge in The Road Toad
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:51 AM   #30
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I like the "safe" idea -have thought about that problem many times when traveling.

In most cases here in Canada the banks issue the Debit cards as part of your standard banking plan and they included x so many transactions without any additional feels - or at least mine does. Over the last year most have also re issued Debit cards with Chips on them just as new Credit Cards have, making it a bit harder to have your card hacked. About two years ago someone switched out the pin pad at a Major store for a day and stole everyones card and pin numbers (something thats a lot harder to do with chips). They did take money from my account but the bank has a daily limit as to how much cash can be withdrawn with a debit card so they only managed to get my limit. The banks fraud folks actually clued in to what was happening long before I did and shut my card down and then issued me a new chipped card and they put the money back into my account - I only had to sign a form confirming it was not me that took the money out. At this point I tend to think that my Credit Card is as big if not a bigger risk to carry than my Debit Card due to the higher limites.
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