Debit cards – You’ve heard of them, but perhaps you’ve never used them before. It may seem unbelievable, but many people haven’t tried them yet. Debit cards are a way for you to simplify certain financial transactions, but they can also protect you if you’re in another country and you lose your money. Here’s how debit cards can simplify your life.
How Do Debit Cards Work?
Debit cards are financial cards, similar in appearance to regular credit cards that allow you direct access to your bank account. Rather than borrowing money, transactions you conduct with a debit card link to your bank account. Money gets withdrawn directly from your checking account.
In this way, you eliminate the payment of interest to a bank, and yet you get a convenient way to pay for things that doesn’t involve borrowing money. You can also make cash withdrawals using a debit card from either an ATM, or a terminal at merchants that allows debt cash back options on purchases.
One of the major benefits of a debit card is that you aren’t carrying cash. Your card is a literal card made of plastic. If you lose it, it may cause some frustration for you, but you won’t be out any money.
Of course, if you do lose it, you also won’t be able to access any of the money that’s still in your bank account until you get a new card. If you happen to be on holiday, you could be stuck. Before you leave for holiday, it makes sense for you to open up a separate joint account with a trusted family member or friend, just in case something happens.
That way, in such situations the local bank branch can work with your friends, family or colleagues, so they can wire the money you need to that joint bank account, and then make the appropriate currency exchange for you.
Debit cards aren’t without their disadvantages, though. For starters, not all merchants accept debit cards. You still need cash for purchases when you’re buying things from street vendors, or in some foreign countries that do not have extensive wi-fi or merchant services access. Some countries still don’t have an extensive electronic payment network.
If you do happen to lose your debit card, it can take up to a week to get a new one. This means you’re back to using cash again, along with all of its inconveniences. Finally, debit cards cost merchants money. Some may charge higher prices for using debit cards to pay for things or may impose minimum purchase thresholds for purchases made with debit cards.
Prepaid Cards for Teens
Teenagers tend not to be very financially responsible. It’s not because they can’t be. It’s because they’re young and inherently lack the skills necessary to manage money. A prepaid debit card is a special kind of card, however, that can help teach your children the value of money, and its relative value to goods and services.
Prepaid debit cards aren’t linked to a bank account or, when they are, they do not provide full access to the funds inside the account.
By loading up a debit card, and setting a cap on spending, you control your teen’s spending habits, teaching them about money without controlling every purchase they make.
Erin Newman is a former bank teller and mom of four. Whenever she has the time, she likes to write about her experiences to post online. You can read her interesting articles on various websites and blogs today.