Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Winning The Debit Card Game

Banks in Malaysia have recently switched ATM cards to debit cards.

For those without credit cards, this could be a good move as one need not be lugging around wads of cash shopping for big-ticket items.

I am not sure if banks here allow for overdraft if there is insufficient fund, but in the US, banks extend the overdraft facility, though not without a penalty, of course. Here is a scenario:

When Peter Means returned to graduate school after a career as a civil servant, he turned to a debit card to help him spend his money more carefully.

So he was stunned when his bank charged him seven $34 fees to cover seven purchases when there was not enough cash in his account, notifying him only afterward. He paid $4.14 for a coffee at Starbucks — and a $34 fee. He got the $6.50 student discount at the movie theater — but no discount on the $34 fee. He paid $6.76 at Lowe’s for screws — and yet another $34 fee. All told, he owed $238 in extra charges for just a day’s worth of activity.

So, debit cards are swell if you spend within what you have but could be disastrous if otherwise. Like overspending on credit cards, overspending on debit cards will only be a Boon for Banks.

NY Times offers some tips on how to win at the Debit Card game. Click on image below to activate video.


  1. I think the debit card overdraft charges shdn't be so high...

  2. I don't use debit card or credit card. I believe it is better to use cash. Because you'll never know the hidden costs involve! ;)

  3. well in a sense debit card is better than credit card, at least you immediately see your bank balance dropping down..

  4. Debit card charges normally are. Credit card charges are no better. Best to spend your own cash, eh? Thanks for stopping by, Viya.

  5. Tekkaus, in some instances, bank customers have no choice because all ATM cards are now being replaced with debit cards. Very soon, you too will have no choice. Using a debit card is actually using your own money in your bank account. Only thing is, you don't physically have the hard cash with you.

  6. SK, debit card is a good way to control over-spending whereas credit card is just the opposite.