Secrets Of Getting And Maintaining A Debit Card
There is a lot of hype about debit cards. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as more and more people are into cashless shopping, and many more are less inclined to shop on credit. In addition to being really convenient, it practically frees you from the risk of incurring debt on your day-to-day expenses.
While there is much promise in using one in your daily life, it is still essential that you carefully evaluate your decision before signing up. The following points will help you make a smarter choice as you consider whether or not to start using one.
Research using trusted online sources
You should always do some research on the card options available to help you consider better. Take advantage of aggregator sites that pool together information on all sorts of financial products on one platform (e.g. iMoney). This enables you to easily compare which card has better features. The reputation of the debit card provider is also a factor to consider, even though, most of them are banks with sound credibility.
Study the features, fees, and charges
The rule of thumb is to go for one that has the most features or benefits. But, you should also look at the hidden fees and charges. For example, some may require you to pay an annual fee. Others may charge when you make withdrawals from a different bank. Knowing these details will help you easily decide if the card is worth applying for.
Read the fine print
The fine print is something that you should never overlook, although, it is completely understandable if you do. These fine prints are never a joy to read, but they often contain terms and conditions (T&Cs) that may look ordinary and dull, but upon deeper analysis, can surprise many. It’s still advisable that you take a few moments to examine the T&Cs before locking yourself into an undesirable contractual agreement.
Alternatively, utilise websites like iMoney, which states the fine prints and other terms and conditions of financial products in a very concise, comprehensive manner.
Let the idea of getting a card cool off
Sometimes, it’s just the excitement that causes you to make an unwise decision. It’s important to ensure that you really do need one. Emotions can blur judgment. It’s advisable to let the idea sit for a couple of days, and perhaps discuss it with someone you trust, like your spouse or a financial advisor.
Once you’ve received your card, the next thing you should be concerned about is how to use it appropriately. Here are a few tips from us:
Set a buffer amount
The last thing you want to do is to use your card to its limit. Set a buffer amount that acts as your “red signal” such that once you reach this buffer, you stop spending for the month. This is a good practice, especially if you already have other commitments (e.g. bills, rent, utilities etc). Having some extra money in your account helps you avoid unnecessary penalties and other similar charges.
Do not use it for large purchases
Debit cards don’t offer much protection to consumers like credit cards do. Ideally, you want to have more insurance coverage and consumer protection when making expensive purchases. Most of these cards do not offer this benefit.
Beware of identity theft
Identity thieves are getting bolder and craftier. Be conscious of how you use your card. Never use an ATM that looks dodgy. Trust your instincts, as criminals might be lurking nearby. Also, refrain from using your cards at places with little or no credibility. A recent study showed that most identity theft cases stemmed from crowded restaurants that are not credible.
Discipline and being attentive will definitely give you the upper hand in handling debit cards. By taking such measures, you will always be in control.