Debit Card Management

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SRL, May 29, 2010.

  1. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I just got my first debit card, as did my teen son. I'm wondering what works best for you keeping track of payments, credits, checks, etc? I hated using a check registry and what worked best for me was using duplicate checks and keeping my total there on the carbon, then lately using online instead of monthly statements. I don't do online bill pay (yet), and still will be writing checks for school, etc.

    I can't imagine my teen carrying around a check register, so ideas for managing that would be appreciated.

    What's working for you? I know I'm in the dark ages still writing so many checks, plus twice recently I've ran out while shopping so it's been a pain.
  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    SRL, I think the best for young teens is to work with them in regards to a set budget. He must know how much he has spent and keep it under the budget. With all the technology, can he record all of his expenditures on his cell phone so he can keep a running tab of what's happening in his account?

    difficult child is so bad with quantity that he is permitted, to use his debit only for emergencies(gas,food etc) and with calling me for final approval.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    The cell phone is a good idea, Fran, thanks. His is a tracfone but he's due for a new one so I'll look into that.

    He's going on a band trip to LA, and we knew that meals and 2 days at Disney would require a lot of cash, so this seemed like a smart way to go. Turns out a lot of his friends have cards already.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    SRL - we've never been able to make a debit card work. My *beloved* husband is incapable of keeping track of things - at one point, we bounced 4 checks in 2 months because for some reason he thought the debit card was free money and it wasn't necessary to share with- me when he used it. (We *never* bounce checks, mainly because I'm the one who handles the finances, LOL.) I finally had to take scissors to his card. And don't get me started on ATM cards - he never did grasp the concept that the "current balance" the bank gives you doesn't take into account the outstanding checks. Those cards got chopped up in 1998.

    Maybe I'm just too old, but I think we'd still get into trouble fast with- a debit card. Heck, it's taken me 22 years just to train husband to write down the darn checks in the register!:check_writer: And that only happened because I threatened to cut him off completely from his beloved checkbook, LOL.

    I do 99% of my bill paying online, especially since our bank doesn't charge for their online payment system. Saves $$ in terms of stamps, plus it's just a whole lot easier.

    The cellphone idea sounds like a good one. It might be easier for our kids since they're more device savvy.
  5. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    i handle mine just as if I were writing a check, I log the transaction in my register right at the point of sale, I know from experience that I cannot be depended upon to log them later on,
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I track on Quicken and check online every single day with the bank for account activity. husband never tells me anything or I'd never know otherwise.

    If you don't have Quicken or another accounting software, you can find older versions that work very well at yard sales, cheap. Make sure difficult child is tracking with you, and it's a very good real life budgeting lesson.
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    From reading various threads here, it sounds like there's a difference in the US between a debit card and a ATM card? I am a bit confused at what features are for each etc.
    Here in Canada, its called either/or (debit or ATM, interchangeable). It works to direct pay at cashiers as well as to withdraw from the ATM machines. It is not a credit card, it is only accessing the balance of cash in your account.
    Our cards have always worked this way and it is pretty much automatic to have one issued the minute you open a bank account. I maybe go physically into a bank building a couple times a year. Maybe less. I access my account online to pay bills, or review my transactions and balance, deposits etc. If using withdrawls from the ATM, it is easy to maintain a current balance in your mind from your reciept. If I'm paying direct to the cashier and making multiple purchases, I tend to be uber cognizant of how much I've spent vs what I knew my balance to be. Sometimes I simply make a larger withdrawl of cash from a ATM before hitting multiple stores (the mall, etc) so that I know from the get go what I'm spending in cash.
    I'm super curious about the differences in these cards for all of you in the US.
    And its funny to read so often how popular cheques still are. Here, pretty much you give post dated cheques if you rent a apartment (I give 12 months in advance when I sign my yearly lease). Otherwise, the only time I ever write a cheque is for book orders from Scholastic if easy child wants to order something. So keeping track of cheques outstanding is pretty simple. All other bills I just use the online banking and pay and instantly see the payment go through and my new balance. I find it so easy to never lose track of what is coming in and going out etc. I don't have to worry about NSF fees for bouncing a check. And our ATM/debit cards don't allow you to spend beyond a $0.00 balance, so no risk of ever going into overdraft. Unless you have a overdraft protection on your account (usually about $500) and then you just pay a very nominal fee/interest when you top your account back up. I have always refused the overdraft protection, I like never having an option to overspend beyond what you actually have.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    A debit card is directly linked to an account with money in it. You can only access the money that's in it. Usually it's a bank, but unemployment and other state benefits can go onto a debit card, too. The card can be used at most any store (so long as the retailer has the ability to process it) and at all ATMs.
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I do the same as Going North - write each transaction in my "log" as it happens. I also have checks for the same amount so I keep my debit card in my checkbook and pull it out instead of using the checks for almost everything.

    I can use my debit card to withdraw cash at ATM's. I record withdrawals before I withdraw the money. Even if I wait to record it within minutes of the transaction, I can easily get distracted and forget to record it.
  10. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Please be careful with debit cards. husband found that out the hard way (I refuse to get one). Last year this very weekend someone compromised his number and charged over $4000 worth of transactions on it. I just happen to look at our account and found it (and eventually there was a charge high enough it was flagged).
    We figured out it came from a transaction at a local restaurant, and were told by the bank that's quite common - when they take your card "away" to do the charge.
    We eventually got all of our money back, but it took a month for some of the transactions to clear up.

    We got rid of the card after that and went strictly to a credit card (which we pay off every month). At least you have 30 days to "catch" the fraud and can't have your account drained.
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Thanks for your thoughts and experiences, everyone. After doing a bit of shopping over the weekend, I've decided I'm going to have to use a check register and record debit card purchases on the spot.
  12. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't use a check register with my debit card. I go online every morning. I actually keep a pretty good running average in my mind. In that one account I never let it get below a particular number, a kind of cush.

    I know that BofA will no longer allow their debit card customers to "charge" over the amount in their checking account like they used to.

    My difficult child just got his first debit card with the last 10 days. What we do is put his allowance into this savings account (I just transfer it from one of my accounts online) and he puts 1/2 of any of the money he makes (pet sitting or working for his dad) in his savings account. Every now and then we'll transfer $ from his savings to his checking that is linked to his debit card. He knows he doesn't have an unlimited amount of $ to spend in his checking account and that prevents both over drawing and over spending. I have taught him how to set up his internet banking on the computer. Fortunately, since he's a minor, it's also on my online banking page!

    I think teaching kids early about the new technology of getting your money whenever, wherever, is really important.

  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Like LDM I track my debit card purchases via online banking, checking & downloading all transactions every day to my Quicken software. I have yet to overdraft with a debit & we've been doing this for at least 8 years.

    It can work if you are willing to do online banking (making sure you have an exceptional firewall & virus protection on your computer).
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We actually got a debit card through my bank a year and a half ago for Onyxx. She could not charge over what was already in the account. So far, so good, right?


    SOMEONE got the number and charged $3.50 at a vending machine in NJ (I want those vending machines here!!!!!). Because it did not authorize or hit right away, when she used her card again no problem. A MONTH LATER - that $3.50 charge hit, and put her over her limit by $0.25. So they charged her a $10 fee. When I went in to add the money she had earned from working with husband - there it was, -$10.25. So I sent them an email through the site. But somehow I was not authorized to talk to them about it (though it was attached to my accounts). Got husband to call them, and they said too bad, the charge was made. We threw a hissy fit electronically. We do NOT LIVE IN NJ. Onyxx COULD NOT GET THERE easily. It was also on a school day - and she was in school. So. They closed the account and said we were using the card fraudulently.

    Be careful if you do not write down all transactions. Check online constantly.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Step....that is idiotic. The one and only time I have ever had a problem some Russian mafia group got a hold of a bunch of Visa numbers and ran a really smart scam. They charged somewhere in the range of $10 bucks to peoples accounts but it wasnt exactly $10 bucks, it was one of those walmart amounts....ending in like .97. They hoped folks didnt check their accounts carefully enough to notice a small charge. Well Im sure some folks dont but I dont have that much money in mine so 10 bucks makes a difference so I noticed. I contacted my bank as soon as I noticed and checked back on my statements a few months. It was there the month before too.

    I checked the "company" out online and found out it was a scam and related to the Russian Mafia! Leave it to me to get scammed by My bank immediately gave me back my money. Of course, I am a credit union. I will never leave my credit