Monday, June 13, 2011

Pros and cons of debit cards

Ah, the best of both worlds. Debit cards are, I think, the beautiful marriage of all the greatest attributes of cash with all the special benefits of credit cards. Like the almost-perfect genetically-modified child of two mediocre parents.


Security – if you lose a debit card, you can report it and have it cancelled. If you’ve chosen a cool bank, you can even get the money back. If you lose cash, it’s gone forever.

Management – you can see each individual charge that you made. Who knew that you spend 20% of your income on food – 60% of which is just eating out – and another 15% on clothes? Answer? You did, my clever friend. Want to know why? Because you have a card. So you, unlike your cash-carrying pal, will know exactly where all of your money goes.

Build your credit score – How? By requesting a line of credit. Yep – lines of credit, otherwise known as cash reserves or reserve lines, contribute to your credit report.  

Clean - You want to know who’s touched that card you’re holding? You. And only the merchants you’ve handed it to. Any haggard-looking creepy men? Nope. Incidentally, it will never be crinkled at the bottom of your bag or folded with funky creases or sticky or smell weird.

Shop online – Sometimes, you want to buy that certain super cool thing, right here, right now, and have it shipped to your door rather than getting in your car, driving through traffic, and buying the one in the store that everybody else has touched. (Maybe that doesn’t matter with DVD’s, but when you’re pawing through the lingerie sales bin, sometimes you wonder who else has…) Just point, click, enter your info, and pick it up off your doorstep. Feels pretty good, huh? Yes it does. It also feels good to buy your tickets off the website when they go on sale rather than paying twice as much in cash to scalp them in the parking lot before the show.


Sleazy “introductory” rates? Nope
Bogus “rewards” programs? No way.
Sky-high interest payments? None of that either.
Accumulation of debt? Pretty difficult to accomplish.

There are, in fact, no cons that I can think of.

Except, of course, that street vendor hot dog…

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