Risks of debit card use

Via metafilter: Careful with that debit card, they may be putting a hold on your cash money for several days.

There’s a lot of hysteria about this with false reports of “$10 surcharges” etc, but retailers do put holds on credit cards regularly, and then they go ahead and do the same thing on a debit card which if you don’t have a lot of money can make your bank account kind of.. SPRAINED for a few days. Word to the wise (and broke).

5 thoughts on “Risks of debit card use

  1. I tend to peek at my Wells Fargo online banking statement every couple of days and had kind of suspected something like that, but this is the first I have actually heard anything official about it. POS “withdrawals” that are still pending (i.e. they were from earlier that day) never have any details other than “pending” and a dollar amount and the details usually show up the next business day. Every once in a while I have seen one show up, then mysteriously disappear the next day instead of getting details–and they do seem to coincide with things like gas fill-ups and other types of things in which a traditional credit card would do a reserve.

  2. Yep. The gas stations around here do that all the time, reserve $20 on your debit card even if you only buy $5 in gas. Takes a good 3-5 days to come off too.

  3. The biggest offender of this is not a gas station, it can often be hotels.
    La Quinta Inns does this a lot, especially if you book the room online. They held $100 against my debit card for TWO WEEKS before releasing it. Created quite a problem for me.
    What’s worse is: most people don’t realize that they have less rights with a debit card than with a credit card. Even if you have “no credit” and have to get a secured credit card — GET ONE for just these kinds of circumstances. Part of the reason gas companies and others don’t try this crap with a credit card is.. they know you have more recourse with a credit card than with a debit card. The next day, all you have to do is call your credit card company and say “hey, I only spent $18.50 at that gas station, why are they charging me $75” and invariably your credit card company will charge it back, which is a big pain in their ass.

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