Reports have surfaced in recent days about a solider who has been protesting outside his local Bank of America branch with a sign that reads, “A solider that puts America first should have a bank that puts the solider first.”
While the solider had two weeks off in Afghanistan in 2010, he went to Athens, Greece and had a few drinks at a nightclub, which he paid for using his Bank of America debit card. When he returned to base later, he found a total of $25,243.71 had been removed from his account. All of the money had been deducted by someone at the nightclub where he’d used his card to pay for his drinks.
If a consumer uses his credit card in a nightclub, or anywhere else for that matter, and the information is stolen and used fraudulently, the disputed charges are frozen and the consumer can delay payment until the bank or credit card issuer completes the investigation.
If, however, you have used a debit card, your money is gone until the investigation is completed. Your bank may return the money, but until they do, you’ll just have to do without.
So with this kind of risk, why do some people continue to use debit cards? It’s because there are those out there who can’t get credit cards, or who don’t wish to obtain and use credit cards because they can’t control their own spending habits.
Whatever the reason, be aware of the dangers of using a debit card. Learn what your bank’s policies are regarding identity theft and fraudulent withdrawals, and most importantly, if you do use your debit card, don’t keep $25,000 in your account.