Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another News Rant Or See How The Other Half Lives!

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.


Anny Cook said...

You go girl... It DOES all come down to responsibility.

Molly Daniels said...

Yes it does. And this royally irritated me yesterday, as the reporter showed her facts and Harry gasped. Apparently, the more affluent feel that charging and 'no worries' are better than keeping track of their expenses on a daily basis and buying 'wants' intead of 'needs'. I shut the news off when they showed the 'new fall line of shoes' and here were these ridiculas stilletto heeled boots and sandals. In today's economy, who is buying feathered boots? I want something functional. When and if we hit the lottery, I might indulge in a little frivolous spending, but right now, we're hanging onto our pennies. Case in point: Milk at Walmart: $3 a gallon. Milk at the other grocery, where we get out bread and meat: $2.50. Milk at the drugstore, requiring extra stop on way home: $1.99. Guess where we bought it? I don't mind an extra stop to save 50 cents, especially when it's only 3 blocks from home.

Molly Daniels said...

Oops...meant that we buy 'needs' instead of 'wants'. Sorry if that was confusing....

Stephanie said...

I agree! We use a debit card because it's easier...we use it like a credit card so no fees. We use it as a debit card only at one store that does not take credit cards. We could get cash before we go there...but it's a 35 cent I let that one go. (It's only twice a month) My bank charges nothing for ATM withdrawals and we have zero fees for anything (well...over draft and those types of fees). Every receipt gets tucked into my checkbook and logged in later on. I check my balance and transactions online whenever I need to....paychecks are direct deposited..... it's all pretty simple really. People need to learn to be responsible.... And our kids need those lessons too. I plan on teaching my kids proper money management.

Regina Carlysle said...

ACK! My head is spinning!