Debit cards are very useful tools for staying in control of  your finances. They offer security and accessibility. You can use your debit cards for daily purchases without the risk of going into debt. Although like credit cards, failure to use debit cards wisely will lead to serious trouble. In this article, we will list some of the best practices you can have when using your debit cards.

Know how you deal with your finances

How do you spend your money? Do you keep track of your expenses? Do you keep your receipts and tally it when you get home? Do you balance out your income and outcome? Or do you go with the flow?  If you are on the more irresponsible side, it’s time to halt using your debit card for your morning latte and start paying cash for your daily purchases. A debit card may be a great financial tool but it’s not for everyone. Make sure to know your spending habits before getting yourself this card.

Keep track of your expenses

Keeping records of your expenses will help you keep tabs on how much money you spent. This will avoid overdraft fees and will lessen the stress. Write down every transaction you make wherever you are tracking your expenses.

Know the difference between debit and credit cards

These cards have distinct differences. As a user, it is your responsibility to know how they differ. When you go to a store and purchase something, you get asked “Debit or Credit?”. When you choose to pay with a debit card, you will have to type in your PIN number. The transaction happens online and then it’s processed instantly. When you choose a credit card, the purchase you made will hit your account after several days.

Watch out for holds

When you book a hotel and you use your debit card for it, you should know that some hotels will place a hold on your card. Make sure to ask about this. Ask about how much they are going to put on hold and how long are they going to be on hold. If this makes you uneasy, use your credit cards instead for transactions like these.

Choose a smart PIN number

A smart PIN number is a combination of random numbers that you can easily remember but others will have a hard time figuring out. Don’t stick with the conventional 1111 or 0000, this number combination is VERY easy to guess. Choose numbers that criminals and strangers would have a hard time guessing.

Check your account balance online regularly

On every transaction you make, always look at your account’s balance online. You can find out if there’s any holds, double charges or unexpected fees right away. Your losses due to fraud on your debit cards are only limited to fifty dollar according to the federal law. This is only when you notify your bank within two days after noticing the problem.

Be careful when linking your accounts

If you’re thinking of linking your debit card checking account to your saving account, you will risk exposing your money to fraud. The more accounts you link together, the more you are giving the thieves and fraudsters a free rein.

When making big purchases, use your credit card

Debit cards don’t have as many benefits and consumer protections like credit cards. When making big purchases, it is recommended to use a credit card. One benefit of credit card is that it has product protection. In case that there are problems along the way, you’d be able to file a claim with the credit card company. They will wipe off the charge. If you use your debit card in purchasing something that fails, then your money would’ve been gone for good.

These are some things to keep in mind and practice if you own and use a debit card. If you are looking for one, there’s a reputable company you can contact today – Check Calcite Credit Union.