The FDIC recently published its Summer 2012 Consumer News which provides advice on various banking topics. Most of the tips are probably well-known to those who are financially savvy. However, there are some useful reminders of federal regulations and protections. I've included a few excerpts that I found most useful.
Fraud and Liability for Debit and Credit Cards
We have discussed the issue of liability protections on debit and credit cards many times. Credit cards are safer based on regulations. The FDIC described these protections in its article, Debit, Credit and Prepaid Cards: There Are Differences:
Your liability for an unauthorized transaction varies depending on the type of card. Federal law limits your losses to a maximum of $50 if a credit card is lost or stolen. For a debit card, your maximum liability under federal law is $50 if you notify your bank within two business days after learning of the loss or theft of your card. But, if you notify your bank after those first two days, under the law you could lose much more.
Comprehensive Guide to Deposit Insurance Coverage
The FDIC announced the availability of a new large-print version of its deposit insurance coverage guide. This provides many examples of how to insure over $250,000. One example on page 33 shows how a couple with two children can insure $3 million in deposits at one bank.
If you want even more details, you may want to review the guide that's designed for bankers. It's called the FDIC Comprehensive Seminar on Deposit Insurance Coverage For Bankers. I reviewed this guide and showed how it's easy to insure $1.25 million at one bank in my post Maximizing Your FDIC Coverage with Beneficiaries.
Adding Others to Accounts: Understand the Risks
Adding a family member as a joint owner to an account may simplify paying bills, but it has risks. Another aspect to consider is the effect to insurance coverage. Joint accounts can increase your insurance coverage, but that's not always the case as described in this FDIC article, Adding Others to Accounts: Understand the Risks:
if a single mother adds two children as co-owners but specifies that they must act together to withdraw any funds, the three individuals do not have equal withdrawal rights and the account would not necessarily be FDIC-insured up to $750,000 ($250,000 for each person named). "In this situation," Becker explained, "the FDIC would have to look to state law to determine the ownership interest of each person and would provide deposit insurance coverage accordingly."
The FDIC summer consumer news also has articles on choosing bank accounts, changing banks, electronic statements and managing mortgages. In my quick review of these articles, I didn't find anything that I thought would be worthwhile to highlight. If you find something interesting, please leave a comment.