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Debit Cards are great, but…

Debit Cards are great, but not for everything.

We all love debit cards. Visa alone reports that 402 million debit cards are in use in the USA.  Small wonder:  They’re convenient and interest- free.  But there are times when you shouldn’t use it:

Online purchases.  A credit card offers greater protection.”Debit card purchases aren’t covered by the law that gives you the right to dispute credit purchases if merchandise is not delivered as agreed,” says consumer advocate Gerri Detweiler.  Likewise, use a credit card for big purchases, such as TVs.

Restaurants.   Not only is your card out of sight when it’s being processed — a security problem in itself — there have been reports of restaurants adding tips without disclosing it to the diner, says Credit.com credit card expert Beverly Blair Harzog.  Again, actually paying the bill later with a credit card offers greater safety.

Hotel reservations.  Using a debit card will place a hold on your account.   “The hotel has no way of knowing how much your final bill will be,” Harzog says.

Automatic payments.  Using a debit card for bills that vary pulls money out of your account before you can address any mistakes.  “This happened to me with a $700 phone bill once!” Detweiler  says.

-Jeff Wuorio Courtesy of USA Weekend