Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Useful Credit Card Rules and Laws - What About Debit Cards?


This Consumerist article titled "10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card" has some useful information regarding credit cards. Out of the 10, I found the following most useful to know:
The Maximum Liability For Unauthorized Use Of A Credit Card* Is $50 According To Federal Law

Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount

Merchants Cannot Charge A Surcharge For Using A Credit Card, However, They Can Offer A "Cash Discount"

With the rewards checking accounts requiring debit card usage, some readers have expressed concern about debit cards lacking the liability protection that credit cards have. With credit cards, it's nice to know that you're liable for a maximum of $50 for unauthorized use. There doesn't seem to be the same protections for debit cards, and unlike credit cards, when you buy something with a debit card, the money comes right out of your checking account. Here's what consumer advocate Clark Howard says:
Sure it looks like a credit card, and it works similarly to one, but it can really foul you up in ways that a traditional credit card can not.

One thing we can do to reduce problems with our debit card use is to limit it to small purchases. Stick with credit cards for large purchases and purchases over the internet. Using credit cards for large purchases also has the advantage of earning cash back rewards. I'm continuing to do more research into this issue of debit cards. If you've already looked into this, please leave a comment.

To learn more about reward checking accounts, please refer to my High Yield Checking website.

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