Warning: If you're not in the mood for a money rant, please skip this and go visit Anny or Mona, for more pics of RomantiCon.
To: Harry Smith at CBS News/Early Show.
Re: Danger of Debit Cards
I'm taking issue with one of your segments yesterday, concerning the credit/debit issue. I watched the segment, positive I already knew information to be presented. Instead, I was appalled. What I saw was a blatant attempt to discourage those of us who embrace our debit cards and vow to never again be caught in the credit card scam.
Issue #1: Overdraft Fees
If you are responsible with your charges, and are faithful about keeping track of them in your checking account register, there should be no problems. At the end of every day, my husband and I take the time to go through the receipts of the day, logging them in the register and noting the balance. We even check it daily through both email and the online statement, checking for discrepancies or missed charges (it has happened; the gas station receipt not being available, or unreadable; the grocery store receipt accidentally thrown away).
On my pre-paid credit card, I also recieve updates daily. Again, I know how much I've got on the card and don't charge over. I do NOT get charged a monthly fee; a simple $3 reloading charge once a week or once a month, depending on how much I need. I do not find this unreasonable.
Issue #2: Reward System.
Personally, I don't use them. Twenty years ago, I eagerly waited for my end of the year 'cash back', but was disappointed when I charged $1000 and only received $10 back. It wasn't worth it, and took me months to pay off. Now, the only 'rewards' we use are the points accumulating with our gasoline rewards program, because I have no desire to walk everywhere, and put gas in our two cars on an as-needed basis.
Issue #3: Fraud
Again, since responsible people keep track of their expenses, I will know ASAP if there is an unauthorized charge on my card or checking account.
Issue #4: 'Hidden Fees'
I don't use my prepaid card for ATM withdrawls. I can check my balance for free, and if I do need cash, a simple debit transaction is all I need.
Here is the issue I thought you would address: Always hit 'Credit' rather than 'Debit' when making a purchase. 'Credit' means they pay the fee; 'Debit' means you do. Only in rare circumstances do we use 'debit'. It all comes down to being responsible with your money and know your limit!
And no, I don't think we're out of this recession-hell just yet. Look at the unemployment lines. Why the HELL are big bonuses being handed out on Wall Street while the rest of Middle America is in danger of losing our homes, facing huge medical bills, utility costs, and rising food and gas prices in order to stay warm, feed our children, and hang onto our jobs? No one is bailing us out!
Our income dropped this year from 40K to just under 20K. We haven't had this bad a year since 1991. And we were only a family of two with one on the way. Now there are five. And trying to send a kid to college next year.
Don't ridicule those of us who are trying to make an honest living without credit cards.