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How do I Avoid Debit Card Charges?

Article Details
  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 24 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Debit cards can be convenient ways to access the money in your checking account without needing to visit the bank, but if the card is not used carefully, debit card charges can rack up quickly. One of the best ways to avoid debit card charges is to carefully read the fine print when signing up for a debit card with your bank. Some banks charge a yearly fee to have a debit card; others only charge this fee if the card is not used regularly. Noticing this ahead of time can prevent some charges entirely.

Another one of the most common sources of debit card charges is through the use of ATMs. Many banks charge these fees if you use an ATM from a different bank; even though they may be a relatively small amount, they can really add up over the month or the year. Instead, get cash back when you make a purchase with your debit card at a store, and the fees will not be charged.

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Some banks require account holders to keep a certain amount in their checking account, and will assess a fee to the account if it goes below that amount. If your bank requires this, be sure to keep careful records to be sure there is enough in the account. Another option is to shop around for a different banks; some banks do not require a certain amount to be left in the account, and others promise no-fee checking accounts, which often means no debit card charges either.

Of course, some debit card charges are not the fault of the bank, but the fault of the debit card holder. It is very important to keep careful records in your checking account register of all the checks you write, and all of the debits you take out of the account in order to avoid overdrawing the account. Overdraft fees can rack up quickly; if you do accidentally overdraw on your account, immediately deposit some money to avoid the snowball effect. Frequently, one bounced check or forgotten debit can lead to high fees, which can then cause other checks to bounce.

Fraudulent debit card charges can be another problem. To prevent this, do not use your debit card online; use a credit card instead. It is much easier to get purchases on a credit card canceled than to recover money stolen from a checking account. In addition, never share the PIN from your debit card with anyone, and be cautious when using the debit to make purchases in a store. For instance, do not use the card in a restaurant, where the server walks away with your card.

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