ATM Alert-Please Read!

Apr 28th, 2002, 09:44 AM
  #21  
ttt
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Stop your whining...you can probably afford the loss if you went to Europe.
 
Apr 28th, 2002, 10:43 AM
  #22  
Jeff
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Just to clarify some terms here:

A debit card is a card containing the Visa or MasterCard logo. It can be used as an ATM card which requires use of a PIN, it can be used at Point of Sale (POS) terminals which require a PIN number or it can be used as sort of a credit card. To the merchant it is a credit card....they don't require a PIN number but rather a signature on an invoice. In theory, the merchant is supposed to check the signature against the signature on the card. In the US, more and more, merchants do not bother to check the signatures. In England, merchants very carefully at least look at the signature. Whether they examine it that closely or not is open to some question. These are the kind of cards that folks are having trouble with.

ATM cards do not contain the Visa or MC logo. They may contain the logo of Cirrus or Plus or Maestro. They can be used in ATM's or POS terminals. They always require a PIN number.

Interestingly enough, in some of the British newspapers, credit card crime has become some prevelent that it is thought that within several years all transactions, at least in Britain, will require use of a PIN number even credit card transactions.

There is little you can do about credit card fraud. Every time you hand over your credit card, your number can be compromised by a clerk or waiter. If it is a credit card, you are never out the money. A debit card, well eventually you will get your money back, but it can be disconcerting.

Debit cards are, however, very handy. The situation that was described is extremely unfortunate and it happens. Whether that means one should absolutely unqeustionably shun the use of debit cards is open to discussion. Sometimes their convenience outweighs the minimal risk..

Just some food for thought.
 
Apr 28th, 2002, 10:45 AM
  #23  
Jeff
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Have no idea what I did to cause this message to repeat itself. Sorry for any inconvenience...didn't do this deliberately.
 
Apr 28th, 2002, 07:42 PM
  #24  
traveler
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ttt, you're rude remarks are not called for! The same thing could have happened to many of us. We appreciate the alert Mary and hope you report back as to your progress in this disaster.
 
Apr 28th, 2002, 10:22 PM
  #25  
Cal
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Excellent points. Thanks.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 05:18 AM
  #26  
Keith
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Just a side point - debit cards in the UK don't seem to have these problems. The two main ones here are Switch and Visa Delta, and all banks have an agreement where if the card is stolen and you report it you are only liable for the first 50GBP - 100GBP of it (and most banks won't even charge this if you argue it.) There is a problem with "skimming" which can be done with credit cards too - think about what's happening when that nice waiter takes your card away from the table to process it...

The French already use a system of PIN numbers and this has virtually eliminated credit card fraud, and the UK banks are looking to implement this in the next few years.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 05:47 AM
  #27  
xxx
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I never could see *any* reason to have a debit card. Why not use a credit card or cash? There is absolutly no possible benefit for the consumer in using a debit card, and many pitfalls. If I have overlooked something, please let me know.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 07:46 AM
  #28  
xxx2
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And I heard yesterday on the news that a number of banks are beginning to tack on a service charge for each debit transaction that is made with your debit card. It will just be a matter of time before this practice becomes widespread. Another reason to shun the debit card.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 07:49 AM
  #29  
tino
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to xxx.xxx,
I think the point is that this could wipe out your checking account without your knowledge, you could be in a foreign country, it could happen on a Sunday when your bank is closed etc. It could really ruin your vacation by not having access to your own cash. In foregin countries, most travelers now depend on accessing Euros or foreign currency from ATM machines. Even in the USA, travelers access ATMs in cities away from home. Now as to ultimately getting your money back....you may very well prevail but a seperate claim form has to be filed for each and every charge. Is this something you would look forward to? Who is going to cover you in the meantime? Disputes are handled with individual bank who issued the card, not with centralized Visa/Mastercard. It's the opposite of a real credit card where you receive a bill and can file a dispute for a fraudulant charge BEFORE you pay your bill. The bottom line is to get the card without the logo and that requires a PIN. This way if the card is lost or stolen, it won't benefit anyone who tries to use it since they would not know your PIN. This is a Huge Scam for many thieves because unlike credit cards, you don't sign your name...just swipe and leave with the merchandise and maybe even some cash back. Consumer advocates are advising you to get rid of this type of card. There is a website posted in a previous posting (within this thread) which discusses this.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 09:19 AM
  #30  
Jim
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I have to wade in on this discussion because like many of the above posters I had planned on using my debit card for cash withdrawls or advances while in Italy. I called my back which issued my VISA debit card and here's what they told me. First of all I have a 24 hour toll free number that I can call from anywhere in the world to report the card stolen. Second, VISA has daily limits of $1,000 purchases and $500 ATM or cash advances, third according to US banking laws they must resolve any disputed debits within 10 days. At least they won't completely drain my account before I can get the card reported stolen.

I was initially quite concerned after reading many of the posts, but am now a
little more relaxed about carrying a debit card for cash and a credit card for other purchases. Of course, I will still guard them with my life.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 09:27 AM
  #31  
Jim
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In addition, if the card is reported stolen within 2 days my liability limit is $50 and $500 if reported stolen within 60 days.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 09:38 AM
  #32  
Confused
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Ok, I've read the various postings regarding this. If I'm going to take my "real" credit cards (a Visa and an American Express) and use this for major purchases, hotels etc. then why do I need a Debit card when all I'm going to use it for is obtaining cash out of ATM machines (basically all I use it for in the USA anyway)....why would I need this Visa logo on the card? I'm going to switch mine to a straight ATM card that requires a PIN incase it is ever lost, stollen, duplicated etc. The right move...right?
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #33  
xxx3
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That sounds like the wise strategy -- keep ATM and CC functions on separate cards.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 10:11 AM
  #34  
Christina
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Thanks JIm for posting some more objective information. I have one of these debit cards, also, with a VISA logo. There is a $50 limit on my liability if the card is stolen or lost, just like a credit card, if it's reported, and there is also a purchase limit maximum per day so nobody could drain my account. My bank says they range from about $500-2500 (purchase limits) depending on your credit, but the above info from "Dateline" sounds bogus that anyone's account could be drained of $5000 in less than a day; if so, that person had very had purchase limits.

I did not ask for this card, though, my bank just gave it to me because it replaced their old ATM card system. I have never used it as a debit card and see no reason to, so I agree there is not much point to it. The only purpose for it I can see is for people who cannot get a credit card. Otherwise, it makes more sense to charge things to a credit card, get a free float on that money for a month, and then pay one sum to the CC when the bill comes. It would be a lot easier and make bookkeeping simpler, also, having one bill. I think these debit cards may have developed because it's cheaper for the banks to process transactions that way than paper checks, at least that's what I suspect.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 10:20 AM
  #35  
Jeff
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To Confused:

I'll give you one instance where a Visa debit card can be better than a plain ordinary ATM card.

You can go into a Visa bank and use a visa debit card to get a cash advance. Now while it is processed by the issuing bank as a visa cash advance, when the transaction clears the visa system it is a withdrawal from your chequing account.

Why is this advantageous? Maybe the magnetic strip on the card is damaged and it is not being read by the ATM. the teller enters the number into the computer and issues the cash.

There is another little bit to this. On an ATM transaction, you may be charged by your bank and by the other bank. You are not charged by the issuing bank on out of country ATM transaction. For example, British banks are not allowed to charge US cardholders for using their cash machines. But your own bank may charge you up to $5. Many banks charge for using another bank's ATM but have neglected to institute the same charge for using the bank branch.

I will use the Charles Schwab account which I have as an example. Schwab charges $1 per ATM transaction. In the US, if I use my Schwab card to withdraw $50 from an ATM, I am hit for $1 from Schwab and usually $1.50 from the bank whose machine I use. The same transaction in Europe costs me $1. Go into the bank branch and use it for a cash advance (see above) and the transaction is free.....Schwab does not charge nor does the issuing bank. In Europe I save $1 (not a big deal), in the US I save $2.50 (maybe a little more significant).

So I will live with the danger as I use the debit card for cash transactions. The brokerage account is not my primary chequing account anyway. I have no doubt that if it is used in a fraudulent manner, I will get every cent back.

Just my humble opinion on this matter. You can decide for yourself what you want to do and if it helps your peace of mind, that's your right.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #36  
Jim
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My last word on the subject:

ATM card are becoming a thing of the past. I called 6 local banks (all nationally chartered banks), and each one of them said that they are fast phasing out during the next year the strict ATM card and are headed toward a Debit card that can be used for ATM withdrawals as well as purchases. Many said that they haven't issued a strict ATM card for several years. Those that do said they are often issued to customers with poor credit history. Either way, protecting whatever financial instrument you carry, be it a credit card, debit card, travelers checks, or cash should be paramount. Lose of any of the above can spoil an otherwise great vacation.

Thanks. Great discussion without all of the usual name calling and chest bumping!!
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 10:49 AM
  #37  
sherry
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Not sure if you all saw the same TV show that I saw, but what happened in this case was a women was wiped out before she knew her card had been stollen (or maybe it was duplicated..don't remember). I've already switched mine to a straight ATM, but something similar could have happened to someone like myself because I generally only hit my local ATM once a week, sometimes longer.I don't check every evening to make sure my card is in my wallet. It isn't just the case of eventually getting your money back, it's the time and hassle involved to fill out a seperate loss report for each fraudulant usage as well as the loss of immediate need of cash while you're waiting for the outcome. My bank manager commended me on changing mine, but she's also a close friend who said she wouldn't have a Visa/Mastercard debit card. I just prefer to keep my credit card usage and ATM usage seperate, it gives me piece of mind. I suppose if someone didn't have the capability to obtain a "real" credit card, maybe there's a place for the debit card.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 10:53 AM
  #38  
JBB
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After reading this, I called the issuer of my debit card. They said that one option is separate the POS from the ATM and to set limits on each. So, just now, over the phone (after they confirmed my identity) I was able to limit the POS to $x while keeping the ATM withdrawal limit at $y per 24-hour period.

Might also work for some of you; hope this helps.
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 11:10 AM
  #39  
mustbe
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Ok, I must be dumb but I'm still not clear as to why someone needs a Visa debit card if they already have a Visa credit card? Both the debit and the ATM takes the money out automatically so doesn't the ATM (if used for purchases) serve the same purpose as the Visa type debit card? Mine doesn't have the logo and does require a pin although I use it often for everyday purchases if I don't want to rack up my credit card bill.??
 
Apr 29th, 2002, 12:13 PM
  #40  
Tony
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To Mustbedumb:

The main reason is that when you use a CREDIT CARD to make an ATM withdrawal or cash advance, you start paying immediately, and I mean immediately, a high rate of interest on the money. A credit card purchase will usually give you a grace period that varies according to the card issuer. A DEBIT CARD uses your money in your checking account, so the most you will pay is a small transaction fee from the "foreign" (out of your bank's system) bank and perhaps another small fee from your bank. Check the disclosure that came with your credit card, it will spell it out in detail. Don't be surprised if it says that you will pay a very high interest rate, sometimes 15% to 20% on cash advances. Most credit card monthly statements even seperate out "purchases" from "cash advances" so they can charge a higher rate, check out one of your recent statements.

The general concensus in this forum is to use whatever method charges the smallest fee for your foriegn currency transaction. I personally will never use a credit card for a cash advance unless it is a dire emergency.

Jim is right, protect your stuff as carefully as you can. I would say that no matter what a thief steals from you, whether it is a credit card, debit card, cash or travellers checks, they are going to go "to town" with it. The key is to be prepared in advance with the right contact information to be able to report your cards or traveler's checks stolen as soon as possible.
 

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