Excerpt taken from the Clark Howard show
The Wall Street Journal isn’t usually known for protecting the consumer. Yet the paper recently ran an article explaining how dangerous the use of debit cards can be for the average person. That’s no secret around here at Clarkhoward.com, where Clark routinely refers to debit cards as a “piece of trash fake Visa or fake Mastercard.” Sure it looks like a credit card, and it works similarly to one, but it can really foul you up in ways that a traditional credit card can not.
Say for example you buy a knife set that’s being advertised on TV. If you pay for it with your debit card and it never arrives in the mail, you have no recourse. Had you paid with your credit card, all you have to do is dispute the charge. The same pitfalls can occur anytime you use your credit card to pay for something now that you’ll be receiving later, such as airline tickets, cruises reservations and more. Other areas of danger with debit cards include the difficulty of refuting charges if your card is stolen, and the practice of hotels and some car-rental agencies that put a large hold on your account in advance of a transaction. Did you know that the latter practice can cause you to bounce checks even though the money is there in your account? The bottom line is that Clark believes the same protections enjoyed by credit-card users should be afforded to debit-card users. But the banks are making a fortune off debit cards, so there’s no real incentive for them to change their ways. As Clark says, it used be that bank robbery involved a thief going to a bank and saying “Stick ’em up!” But today it’s you that’s getting robbed by the bank when you use a debit card.