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Re: Those debit cards and abuse

by Evie / September 18, 2005 9:37 AM PDT

Since the debit cards do involve electronic transactions I presume it should be fairly easy to tally and document just exactly WHAT was purchased with them. Lots of anecdotal evidence of abuse and just now heard on TV that the ARC is reporting increased incidence of abuse of their cards. In this electronic age, a more specific accounting should be readily available to report. Wonder why it's not!

Evie Happy

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I never have understood why people want debit cards.
by Kiddpeat / September 18, 2005 9:49 AM PDT

There's no float. They are a direct hit on the bank account and probably lack the consumer protections of a credit card. I can't see any benefit as long as you pay off your credit card every month.

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This is a bit off topic ...
by Evie / September 18, 2005 9:55 AM PDT

... but just about anyone can get a debit card (that allows one most of the advantages of a credit card for hotel reservations, car rentals and the like) while the terms of some credit cards can be prohibitive for a lot of folks. Secondly, not everyone has the discipline to pay off the credit card every month, so for those, a debit card is the answer. Amex would be the next best bet as you are not allowed to carry balances. BTW, merchants prefer debit as they don't pay the 2.5-4% fee to the credit card company. You just have to be careful as a consumer that you aren't charged for debit purchases.

Evie Happy

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Because , Kiddpeat...
by J. Vega / September 18, 2005 10:09 AM PDT

Because, kiddpeat, if you have a credit card with say a $10,000 line of credit, a crook who gets yout card number can run up $10,000 in your name. Straightening that out can take quite some time and be a royal pain.
If you have a debit card and keep something like $100 on it when it is in normal "idle" the most such a crook can hit it for is that $100. The many debit cards have the same protections that a credit card has.
Note: If you have something like a $100 idle on it, when you plan to make a big purchase you put that additional amount onto the card and make the purchase soon after, leaving that additional money on the card and vulnerable for the minimum amount of time.

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Didn't really think of that ...
by Evie / September 18, 2005 10:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Because , Kiddpeat...

... but also something I did and still do for online purchases. We have two accounts with one bank. I can transfer funds as needed. One of those accounts was used for online direct funds payments or any "credit card" purchases I made. I never kept much more than the $100 minimum balance in there unless I planned to buy some stuff or knew online debits were due to be taken.

Evie Happy

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You also lose the ability to dispute the charge if the
by Kiddpeat / September 18, 2005 10:26 AM PDT

goods are not delivered, or if there is a dispute with the merchant.

I recently got a $1,000 charge from Amazon.com. The credit card company told me that it was for 'books'. I knew I didn't buy $1,000 of books. I told the company (I did have to write a letter), and they took it from there. I never did find out what was going on, but in due course the charge was dropped. In the meantime, I did not need to pay it, and all interest charges were reversed when the charge was dropped.

With a debit card, it would be me talking to Amazon who had no record of these purchases in my account. I shudder just thinking about it.

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Not always, kidpeat...
by J. Vega / September 18, 2005 10:47 AM PDT

Not always, kiddpeat. It just happened to me. I called the bank, they investigated it, and in about a week I got a letter from the bank telling me that the charge was invalidated and the money was returned to the debit card account. They said that the card was protected from such stuff, and they were right.

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Not so. It is simple matter to tell the credit card company
by Kiddpeat / September 18, 2005 10:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Because , Kiddpeat...

that the charges are fraudulent. You are on the hook for $50. That's the extent of your exposure. I've had a handful of fraudulent charges over the years. They are handled with two or three phone calls.

$100 on a card largely negates the advantage. If you want to get a big ticket item, you have to arrange a deposit before purchase. If you don't keep the balance low, you risk getting cleaned out. As far as I know, there is no federal law limiting your liability.

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Bank of America ...
by Evie / September 18, 2005 10:22 AM PDT

... advertises credit card-like protections for their debit cards. I haven't read the fine print on mine to be sure exactly how thorough that is (never keep much in the card-linked account anyway). With free online banking, it is easy to keep the funds in a savings or other account. When I do a transfer online, the funds are available instantly.

Evie Happy

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That would help, but they can always change the plan. A
by Kiddpeat / September 18, 2005 10:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Bank of America ...

credit card is protected by federal law. $50 maximum liability.

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True ...
by Evie / September 18, 2005 10:40 AM PDT

... but I would receive sufficient advance notice to alter my "plan". As I said, I don't take advantage of this anyway. Incidentally, my BoA debit card, although it has a VISA logo, almost always goes through as a debit purchase -- requiring my PIN -- without the merchant asking or me choosing.

I sign and use my hubby's cards all the time and have rarely been stopped. Most merchants no matter what they say don't bother to check the signature against the panel, get ID or whatever. So I actually feel safer if I lost a debit card than a credit card in SOME ways.

Evie Happy

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If that's the case, kiddpeat...
by J. Vega / September 18, 2005 10:52 AM PDT

Kiddpeat, if that's the case, then I'm much better off with a debit card. With that bogus charge that I mentioned in another post, I got back every cent of the money in about a week. No on the hook for $50, or any amount for that matter.

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Not really. That's the maximum exposure allowed by law. I've
by Kiddpeat / September 18, 2005 2:48 PM PDT

never had to pay it.

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But I don't use credit
by C1ay / September 18, 2005 12:12 PM PDT

I haven't bought anything on credit for nearly 20 years. I enjoy the fact that everything I own is paid for even when I use the only piece of plastic I carry, my debit card.

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The problem, Evie,...
by Paul C / September 18, 2005 9:50 AM PDT

...is thet the card issuer (Master Card - we've done a couple on evacuees who needed to get cars repaired) doesn't know what the purchase is, merely the amount of the purchase. All they're able to do is verify that funds are still available on the account.

Therefore it's up to the MERCHANT to determine the validity of the purchase. While the cards are prominently stamped "Not for purchase of alcohol or tobacco," anything else, I guess is on the honor system - the merchant's as well as the evacuee's...

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(NT) (NT) Oh! Do you mean THOSE debit cards?
by Kiddpeat / September 18, 2005 9:54 AM PDT
In reply to: The problem, Evie,...
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That makes sense ...
by Evie / September 18, 2005 10:00 AM PDT
In reply to: The problem, Evie,...

... so mostly the merchant would have to report it. Walmart would seem innocent enough, except I've heard reports of lots of videogames, etc. paid for with these. I'm thinking Louis Vitton isn't sold at KMart and perhaps purchases at Needess Markup et. al. should be blocked!

Evie Happy

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Not for purchase of alcohol or tobacco
by jonah jones / September 18, 2005 3:29 PM PDT
In reply to: The problem, Evie,...

lol!

i read on CNN that a lot of the cards were being emptied in strip joints Happy


.

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Guess they could be
by John Robie / September 19, 2005 1:31 AM PDT

drinking Coke with their 'lap dance'.
Wink
or
doing a 'barter' which seems to be the new mitigation instead of calling it 'looting'.

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Let them touch those things for once!
by kmarchal / September 19, 2005 2:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Guess they could be

Repeal the three foot rule

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(NT) (NT) OK Celine ;-)
by Evie / September 19, 2005 4:27 AM PDT
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Actually Paul the card issuer...
by Edward ODaniel / September 19, 2005 4:33 AM PDT
In reply to: The problem, Evie,...

does receive information regarding what was actually purchased just as is done with a Credit Card.

That serves a purpose in combating credit card fraud where the actual card holder is attempting to claim someone else used the card as it provides a history of TYPES of items purchased.


ASSUMING the card number is related to the person it was issued to either the Red Cross or the Federal Government could go after reimbursement for "luxury purchases" that couldn't be related to the purpose of issue which was emergency financial need which would limit things pretty much to food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and possibly home repair.

The merchant on the other hand is more limited because although I haven't seen one of the cards I don't think they expressly associate themselves with "necessity" purchases" of an evcuee as opposed to "anything" purchases of someone who got their own card through their own bank and tied to their own account.

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re: Wonder why it's not!
by jonah jones / September 18, 2005 12:53 PM PDT

it is, i just wonder if your name is on the list of people privy to that information......


.

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There are always those....
by Angeline Booher / September 19, 2005 4:44 AM PDT

..... who will abuse a good thing.

Federal employee credit card programs were designed to save money. Rather than weaving through a lengthy procurement process to acquire basic supplies, federal employees could purchase job-related products with credit cards that would be paid by their agency. What began as a smart way to streamline government has since been corrupted by some federal employees who have abused the public trust.

A recent audit revealed that employees of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) diverted mil

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Yep ...
by Evie / September 19, 2005 5:56 AM PDT

... but God forbid you can't find that receipt for some deductible item from two years ago ... the IRS will never let you slide!

Evie Happy

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