Using debit cards is often very simple and convenient. They can be used where ever there is a machine set up to process your card. Simply produce your card, enter your security PIN number and you can have access to your money with the added bonus that you wont ever be able to spend more than you have since the money is debited from your account, not borrowed on credit.
But where might you not want to use these cards? Your decision might be influenced by both the rules of the bank and the particular vendor’s preferences.
Generally you will want to check the small print of your particular card and bank but here are some situations to consider revolving around the bank rules:
1. ATMS of other banks. Often there is a charge to use your debit card at the ATM of a bank that is not your home bank. If in any doubt check before you use the machine, and if you have any choice wait until there is an ATM from your particular bank before you withdraw money or view your account.
2. Overseas. Don’t plan on using your regular debit card overseas, unless your card offers this service. If you want to shop around for exchange rates certainly don’t use your debit card since the bank will set the prices it wants.
3. Where you want insurance. While an increasing number of debit card suppliers are offering insurance, it is traditionally the prerogative of the credit card to offer free insurance on items purchased with the card. The credit card has many charges and the banks need to entice customers to take up the card, free insurance being one of the incentives.
4. Where you are making multiple small purchases and your bank has limited withdrawals. Banks sometimes charge for more than a certain number of withdrawals per month so if you are making multiple small purchases you might be better off to make one larger withdrawal of cash and use that to make the many small purchases.
Once you have considered the bank and factors that might affect whether you use the card you also need to consider the vendor. Some vendors do not have facilities for using debit cards and others require a minimum purchase. So always check factors about the vendor that might influence whether you use the debit card or not. Here are some situations to consider:
1. Whether the vendor requires a minimum purchase and you don’t plan on spending that much. If you have a few small items to buy and are required to make a minimum purchase you should not use your debit card – unless you are prepared to buy other items that you don’t want in order to qualify for the vendors conditions of use.
2. Places that don’t have facilities. It goes without saying that you wont be able to use a card with small street vendors and shops that do not have the card reading facility. They simply don’t have the facilities and you should not plan to use a debit card in this situation.
3. Places where you cannot see your card all the time. Due to the rising number of security problems revolving around electronic cards being compromised at vendor outlets you want to make sure that you can see your card all the time, especially see the machine being used to scan your card before you enter your PIN number. Some foreign devices have been attached to scanning machines that are used to intercept your card and PIN number. These security-compromising devices have been found in big supermarkets processing thousands of customers and small retail outlets alike.
4.Where there are incentives for cash payments. Sometimes vendors offer incentives for cash payments since it is preferable to them to receive money so check whether there is any advantage using cash or other before using a debit card.
If you keep in mind the conditions of your bank as well as what particular vendors are offering you should be able to make good decisions about the places you should and shouldn’t use your debit card.