There are a basic ten things everyone should know about their debit/credit cards and I thought I would share this little bit of knowledge with you.
1. You do not own your card, it is property of the issuing bank and can be taken back, turned off, or destroyed at any time. Overdraft too much? They can shut it down, making crazy charges that look like fraud? They can shut it down. Depositing empty envelopes in the ATM? They will shut it down. It may be your money but it is their card they are allowing you to use.
2. Your activity is monitored 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If we suspect someone has stolen your card, or if we think someone has counterfeited your card, we will shut it down. If this is going to be a problem, make sure your bank has all of your correct contact information because if we can't reach you, you have to wait until the bank is open to figure out why your card is not working.
3. Planning on traveling outside of the US? Take a moment and either call the bank, stop in at the bank or call your customer service department and let them know and they can note the account because if we don't see any signs of travel in your account activity, we're freezing the account, and besides that there are MANY countries in this world that unless the bank knows otherwise, your card will not work. There are entire countries blocked at the bank because of high fraud in those countries and if they don't add your card number to the exclusions list, you will not get your card to work. Oh and by the way? Contrary to popular belief, Canada IS a foreign country, and yes people of Texas, so is Mexico. Just because you can walk there doesn't mean it's not a separate country.
4. Plan ahead, fraud happens every day to everyone. Don't use your card online? Doesn't matter. Don't use the pin on your card? Doesn't matter. Fraud finds you. If you are traveling always have a second form of payment, you do not want to be stuck in another country when we shut down your card and have no other way to pay for anything.
5. If you are traveling inside of the US you're going to be o.k., if you plan on spending large amounts of money at your destination simply use your card at some point along the trip, it's not a necessity but it helps the detection specialist see you are traveling. Most smaller amounts will not alert the system unless you are in North Carolina and are a capital one customer, then you might have some issues.
6. Making a large purchase online completely out of the norm? You may receive a phone call to verify the purchase. Just expect it because we are looking out for your money as well as the bank's money. You are not held responsible for fraudulent charges but it can sometimes take up to 5 weeks to get your money bank depending on the bank, so if someone calls you to verify your charges, just be glad someone is watching out for you.
7. If you shop online and you find a deal that too good to be true? It probably is. Fraudsters are very good at creating fake websites, if they were not good at what they do, they wouldn't get away with it. Do some research before you order from websites you have never heard from before, or have never used before. A simple google search will tell you all you need to know about it. If you find a Northface jacket for $15 at christmas time, I wouldn't recommend ordering it, just ask the lady that went into Christmas missing $1800 and missed her mortgage payment.
8. The bank is not your enemy, they are not your friend either, but they are not your enemy. They are out to make money off of your money, it's no secret. Thanks to the US government there is now a cap on how much a bank can make off of a debit card transaction of something like 12 cents maximum per transaction. It cost the banks more than this to offer debit cards so they want us to shut more cards down at the slightest thought of fraud, so be prepared. If the gas pump doesn't take your card the first time, either go inside or find another pump because you swipe that thing more than twice and we will shut your card down. You might be amazed at the things that flag in our system, just use common sense......at least the people reading this blog I know have it, but still.
9. When it comes to your debit card, trust no one. Don't leave it laying around because a camera phone can capture the number and that's all they need. Don't lose it and think you'll look for it before calling the bank, if that sucker is not in your possession, call the bank and tell them you are looking for it, but that you don't have it. Most banks offer a temporary hold option for the card while you look, some up to 30 days. A lost or stolen card can empty an account in less than 10 minutes, a trip to a local store that sells gift cards and your car payment is going to be late that month. They are fast and they are good, sometimes they swipe it at a pump at the gas station to see if it's a good card and then get online and spend thousands before you even realize your card is not in your wallet/purse. In this day in age, take nothing for granted, that card is serious business and for the love of all that is good and holy......DON'T WRITE YOUR PIN NUMBER ON YOUR CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You would be amazed at the people that do that and then are upset because if we can't find a surveillance tape to prove it wasn't them, they are personally responsible for that money.
10. Last but not least, if you ever do get that phone call verifying a purchase and you are rushed and just say yes because you don't have time to have your card blocked, you will be legally held responsible for any and all money that is withdrawn or spent from your account. Fraudsters will sometimes use what we call test charges, a very small charge usually less than $5 and then return it right away so it would never appear on your statement, if we call and verify transactions like that and you just say yes to get off the phone, you just bought yourself a world of debt because within a week that card is going to be used in many foreign countries, or online somewhere enough to clear out your account and sometimes even more than that and you would be held accountable for any debt as well over draft fees that occur because of it. You can't fight it because we asked you about it and you said it was o.k. and it's pretty easy to track it back to those original test charges.
This isn't meant to scare you, well actually to a degree it is. People are often so flakey about their debit card because it's just a piece of plastic, but that piece of plastic can cause you months and months of stress and financial hardships. I have been in banking for less than a year and have heard countless horror stories about what happens. My sister had her card compromised because someone finally hacked into a system the bank used and pulled several hundred card numbers. Her bank offered her a temporary interest free loan until the paperwork was done, but this is not the case with all banks. Many banks make you wait up to 5 weeks while the paperwork gets done before they release any funds to you, can you afford to have your account emptied and wait 5 weeks to get any of it back?
Just think ahead and don't be stupid.
That is all.