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Walmart / Money Card

Posted:    

Money card from nightmare.

Complaint Rating:  85 % with 732 votes
85% 732
4.25
Contact information:
Wal-Mart
Peoria, United States
www.walmartmoneycard.com
This pre-paid money card is a joke! You can't send them an email, you can't even talk to Customer Service with out being charged 2.00 & give your ssn# on the phone (since you don't know the card # because it was shredded right after you bought it) & then still can't talk to anyone without the 2.00 charge. They literally make it impossible to get a hold of any one to talk to (unless you want to pay for it). They make it impossible to get your money back. They make it VERY DIFFICULT to cancel your account. Can't return it at Wal-Mart where you bought it. The money card has so many hidden charges (in super small print) that you can't read it even with glasses on, to read before you buy. That's pretty bad when even the people that work at Wal-Mart warn their consumers about the "Wal-Mart Money Card". Unfortunately, too late. They charge monthly fees (fees for EVERYTHING) Fees to put more money on the card. I finally had to go to the store, buy something for 1.00 & get the rest back in cash. Like I said, trying to close the account is another story. Never used the card for anything else & they make it impossible to opt-out for marketing (even though you already chose not to share your info) Everything about this card is a nightmare.
Complaint comments Comments (557) Complaint country United States Complaint category Business & Finances

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 30th of Oct, 2007 by    0 Votes

Walmart - Bad attitude of employee
United States

Today. . . 10 / 29 / 07. . . I stopped by a walmart that i had not been in since last fall. . Last fall i had a bad experience in the shoe dept. . . I had surgery on both feet and was struggling to find soft shoes to fit without pain. . . I had taken five or six pairs of shoes from the racks and went to sit on the bench to try the shoes. . I had chosen two pair and - placed them in my cart. An employee came from behind - hands on hips - strutting and complaining. . . "you need the clean this mess up". . "don't you know how to put things back where you got them". . . I was in shock. . . After a few seconds, i asked for a dept mgr. She informed me that she was the dept mgr. . I did not pick the shoes up and return them to the racks. . . That was enough - i asked for the store manager. . . The store manager was called by another employee. The manager apologized and said that she take care of this woman. . . I thought this was over. Frankly - never thought of the incident again - until today. . .

Guess what. . . I took the time the find four pairs of shoes to try on. . As i'm sitting on the same bench at the back of the shoe racks. . . Who appears but witch hilda, again.

I knew her immediately. . . I spoke. . . "hi, how are you?". . . She muttered under her breathe "fuck you". . . And walked away. I heard an announcement come over the sound system. . . Manager to dept #. . . It was the voice of witch hilda. . .

Within a few minutes a nasty little blonde appeared. . . I asked if she had a problem. . . She snapped. . "can we help you with some shoes". I asked to speak to the manager - she informed me that she was the only manager in the store today. . . Her name was donna, in the biscoe store. . . I walked out - leaving the shoe boxes on the floor.

Needless to say - walmart does not need my little bit of money. . . And they don't need my good will. Sooner or later they will pay for the bad service and the poor way they train their employees. . . Witch hilda should have been terminated last year for her behavior. . . Now i dread going to that dept even for shoes for my grandchildren. . . Employees in walmart do not help find or fit shoes. . . The least they could do is put them away in the proper place when shoppers leave. I would not expect to hang a dress or sweater after trying it on. . . And i don't expect to re - pack the shoes on the racks. . . I do expect to be treated with respect when i call for a manager. Walmart pay attention !
 26th of Nov, 2007 by    0 Votes

WalMarts On Line - Poor Customer Service
Walmarts
United States

This morning I ordered three items on line to be shipped to the house. All three were Xmas gifts I was going to take with me leaving the city on 12/14/2007 and not returning till after Xmas. I ordered these items 3 weeks before departure. I clicked on standard delivery for all three that indicated I would receive these items in plenty of time to take with me on my trip.

When I hit the send button for order completion, one of the items (gift box of candy) stated I would rceive these on 12/24/2007.

I wondered how that happened. I could not have this item come after I was gone. I e-mailed Walmarts immediately and told them that this has to come sooner or cancel the order as no one would be here. I got some automated reply back that had nothing to do with my question and concerns. I had to call 411 to get a phone number as unlike other on line vendors, walmarts does not have a number listed. I talked to someone in California and she said I had to of hit the wrong bottom for delivery and there was nothing they could, yada yada yada. I explained I hit ONE button for standard shipping and not two. She replied back that I was wrong and had to of hit two buttons and I was stuck with the merchandize and it was their policy that nothing can be done to accomodate me. I argued till I was blue in the face and even asked them if they would Please send this item that they insisted I wanted on Christmas Eve,,,to ship with the other two items that would come next week. Nope, no can do, she said. She indicated they were not like other vendors and NO order can be cancelled..period, or sent sooner because I hit the wrong bottons. I told her NO, I hit one botton and why were two items coming the right way and the other one the wrong way. This also cost me additonal postage. I told her that Walmarts has poor customer service/relations and my intentions were honorabgle and I notified them immediately when I saw the error.

Now, a gift will be shipped to my home with no one there. I am not stupid. I would never of hit a button indicating to have a gift ship to my home on 12/24/2007 when I knew we would not be here. Walmarts could care less. This is the LAST time I do business with a company that is not people oriented.

I should of known better to do business with these people. Never again!
 23rd of Dec, 2007 by    0 Votes

Walmart - Terrible service!
Wal-mart Lincoln hyway East
Lincoln hyway east store #2334
Lancaster
Pennsylvania
United States
Phone: 717 390-1738
Wal-mart.com

At about 1:oo am on Monday on The 24th of Dec. 2007. Some ladies at the electronic department, was given one of your associates a hard time. It was 3 ladies. The associate calls the manager and your Manager by name of Andy instead diffusing the situation made the situation worse. I was so disappointed he said all the wrong things. Then walks away for what ever reasons. The ladies were threating the associate and making a real ugly seen and your manager did nothing. Then about 15 minutes later security came. This lady was rude and unbearable to even talk too. Your associate was leaving from behind the counter, and I as a concern customer of the safety of your employee. I tell your security lady to follow your associate, because they were saying some foul things to her and the security lady started to talk nonsense like I am not afraid of no body I have had guns and knife pulled on me I can handle any one. I just looked at her with disguise. Then all loud she said which way did they go. Then the saddest part of it all is that they never left the store after causing all that commotion. I am so disappointed in your store. I spend a lot of money in your store and I hope that you take care of this matter.
 30th of Dec, 2007 by    0 Votes

Walmart - Terrible service!
Double Quarterpounder Meal
Woodstock
New Brunswick
Canada

A companion and I went to your Woodstock store on Connell Road, not to be confused with your store in the Wal-Mart in Woodstock , for breakfast on Sunday morning, Dec 30 / 07 . She ordered the # 1 meal and I ordered two # 2 meals. We were the ONLY people in the dining area with NO line at ANY of the cashiers. Your service personnel were quick enough to take out orders and immediately brought the hash browns and drinks to our tray and informed us that we could find a seat and they would deliver the rest of the meal to our table when it was ready.

We found a seat still being the ONLY people in the dining area. We ate our hash browns and sat and talked a bit with no meals arriving. By this time a minimum of 10 minutes had passed. I returned to the counter to inquire about any problem to find my companion's breakfast sandwich and ONE of my breakfast sandwiches in the heat rack and had probably been there for some time. I returned to my seat with the assurance that my 2nd sandwich would be delivered. We ate the sandwiches which I had to go back to get and STILL no 2nd sandwich I had ordered . Once again I returned to the counter where once again I found the rest of my order in the heat rack and noone had bothered to deliver it to our table.

I have to say this is VERY shoddy service for a company that supposedly prides itself on its speed. Actually I have received this same kind of service from this store before but gave the benefit of the doubt. But to be the ONLY two people IN the store to be waited on and get this kind of service is unacceptable!
 1st of Feb, 2008 by    0 Votes
Only losers eat at McDonald's
 11th of Mar, 2008 by    0 Votes
There are so many reports of crimes happening in the parking lot of the Marrero, La. Wal-Mart that customers are beginning to avoid this store. What can be done to safeguard your customers? Surely, with the money Wal-Mart has, you can well afford to hire a number of security guards, using trucks to go up and down the aisles of the parking area. MORE than one is needed! Since you are forewarned, don't be surprised if someone decides to sue for lack of protection.

I know that at least one of your employees is a thief, because a friend of mine had her purse stolen by a co-worker two times. When they learned that she would press charges, the purses turned up, minus her wallet and keys. She had to change the locks on her house and come have her son bring his car, since hers opens with a remote entry key.
 11th of Mar, 2008 by    0 Votes
Wal Mart surely owes its customers a safe parking lot. Will we have to have a guard or shop in groups. Something must be done this is a serious situation.
 12th of Mar, 2008 by    0 Votes
Sunday, 3/2/08, at 5PM, my husband and I were walking out of the Marrero Walmart. (He doesn’t want me going alone any more.) There must have been 15 teenagers on skate boards going up and down the parking lot aisles, shouting obscenities, making obnoxious comments especially to the older people, and one of them almost ran over me. When we got into the car, I called Walmart and the older lady that answers the phone located in ladies’ ware, told me that someone else had just reported it. I asked why doesn’t Walmart have security patrolling the parking lot. She said, they don’t even have security to walk employees to their car at 11PM. They have to use the buddy system.

There have been armed robberies of customers in the parking lot, rapes on the grounds, car break-ins, etc.

Yesterday, I went to Walmart at about 3PM and asked to speak with a manager. Her name was Paula, and I told her of the above story, and of my knowledge of the numerous robberies at Walmart. I again asked the question, why doesn’t Walmart have security guards patrolling the parking lot? She replied that there is money allocated for security, but companies such as Vinson Guard Services are not allowed to carry guns and would just have to call 911 anyway. So they hire JP details when they can get them, but they aren’t always available. I told her that if I had a security sign in my front yard indicating an alarm system and the house next to me did not, that the would-be robber would hit my neighbor and not me would you agree? She did. Then, I said, anything is better then nothing. People are afraid to shop here. You have a large presence on the Westbank and a large customer base, I would think you would want to protect them. Oakwood has security that patrols the parking lot, why can’t Walmart! She said some money is allocated for that but we can’t do it. I said from now on I am banning Walmart, and I’ll never shop here again, and I’ll tell everyone of my friends and family that Walmart is too cheap to protect their customers. I will shop at Rousse’s from now on. She said we are not the only store--this is happening everywhere. She said are you aware that a lady was killed by a purse snatcher in the parking lot of Rousse’s lately? I said Paula, that happened at Labories’s--not Rousse’s so get your stores straight. I said I’ve spent a hell of a lot of money in this store, but I know that’s just a drop in the bucket to Walmart. You’ll never see me in here again. I thanked her for her time.

I then went to Rousse’s on Belle Chasse Hwy and Lapalco. I was able to park reasonably close to the store. This is such a clean store. It even has anti-bacterial wipes at the door to clean the handle of your basket. Obviously, they care about their customers. Additionally, the ask if you need help with your putting your groceries in your vehicle! As I looked around, the customers are so much different from Walmart if you know what I mean. I felt safe. There is a good selection of everything, and it’s a Louisiana based store too! It may be farther from where I live, but I guess we will all have to make life style adjustments to feel safer.

I urge you to call the Marrero Walmart manager, Paula, at 341-0075, and express your concerns as well. Then stop shopping at Walmart.
 13th of Mar, 2008 by    0 Votes
I live near the Marrero WalMart, and lately I've noticed the lack of security outside the store. A paid detail could surely curtail the crime that is occurring on a daily basis. Purse snatching, is occurring insude the store as well as outside. I choose to not shop there, there are local merchants and smaller chains that can supply my needs at a similar price, and with better service, better security.
 16th of Apr, 2008 by    0 Votes
Personally I don't understand why, people complain over something like this. Fact Wal-Mart is a Corporation. The sad reality is that most corporations give little control beyond basic store operations and the hiring process to store level management. Something like security would be strictly controlled by the corporate office. While this is a concern for people who live in your area, the store manager really can't do anything. If you want action taken you need to get documentation: police reports of any events, perhaps phone records of complaints(a manager could probably help with that), etc. Copies of those should be sent with a signed petition from people in the area, to the corporate office. People need to see the larger picture. With companies like Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Gamestop, and the like store level managers are little more the people with keys and someone for the customer to complain to. To get any kind of results you need to take the appropriate steps and send your complaints to the right people within the organization. Going up to a store manager and saying "do it, or I'm not coming back" is pointless because they lack the ability to do anything. The lowest level od management that may be able to do anything is a district manager.
 24th of Apr, 2008 by    0 Votes

Walmart - false accusation
wal-mart
304 e arbor ln, eden, nc 27288
Eden
North Carolina
United States
Phone: 336-623-8981

I was mindind my own business and looking at some earrings when the security guard and manager came up to me and started asking me about some merchandise. At first i was confused but then i caught the drift. The manager said that one of her associates said she saw me chucking some empty cosmetic boxes somewhere. i have never stolen anything in my whole life and i don't believe in stealing. i was very offended and started to cry and the associate was sure it was me because she described me to her manager and showed me to my face where she said that i chucked it. it still is bothering me that somebody would just come out and lie on me about something that i would never do.
 5th of May, 2008 by    0 Votes

Walmart - Tip to get help
WalMart
Massachusetts
United States

For those of you who've has issues with your local WalMart...here is a little tip.

My daughter called our local WalMart to check on the availability for a vacuum part. After calling the store 3 times, and being kept on hold for over an hour total (including one call asking to speak to the Manager), she hung up and called the Corporate office in Bentonville, AR.

Customer Service
1-800-Wal-Mart
(1-800-925-6278)
Questions regarding a Wal-Mart Store issue

She calmly told them of her experience, how long we've been customers of WalMart and how disappointed we were with the service we received.

They were very apologetic and promised her they would take care of this and ensure it never happens again.

Within 30 minutes of her call to Arkansas, the manager of our local WalMart was on the phone. He personally found the item we needed and held it in his office for us. He also did NOT make excuses for his employees...(which I found refreshing) and assured us they were working on improving themselves in this area.

I know it isn't much, but it is an idea to help. Go straight to the top. They will listen!

You can say alot about WalMart on the local level, but I have to say, if Corporate knew about some of your issues, I can assure you...they would take care of it immediately! It was amazing!

(Oh, and I don't work for them!!! :-)
 2nd of Jun, 2008 by    +1 Votes
I do believe they are selling personal info about the card holders, since i have had the card i have received, scam lottery mails like crazy, i go to walmart to add money to the card and it wont even scan i was told i could buy a reload card to add the money, i thought now why would i do that knowing the card wont scan at walmart...duh...
 3rd of Jun, 2008 by    +2 Votes
I understand how everyone feels about this card, but it seems to me like you are talking about two (2) different walmart money cards. There is one that you can't reload (costs approx. $4.94 + to purchase) and there is the other that you can reload (costs approx. $ 8.94 to purchase). The first card I bought was the nonreload card and I had no trouble with it at all.
The next time I needed a Visa type card I decided to try WalMart's card since I had no trouble with the first. I was unaware just like the rest of you that they would want my social security number, but if you read the fine print and especially if you read the information on their website, you can see that they, at least do not give out your social...anyway, they can't- that is illegal and so far I have had no problems with it. If you are cashing a check, it costs nothing to reload the card, if you are not, then it costs and extra $4. 64 to add money... That is not that big of a deal since you are paying for the service, the privilege to have a Visa since, well let's face it, we would not be buying these cards if we had good enough credit to get a real Visa or Mastercard or whatever.
I am not trying to say they are not allitle shady on the fine print/details, it is just one of those things you should not buy until you research it like a responsible consumer. I like having the ability again to have a prepaid card while I am getting my credit back in order. A $4.94 monthly service fee is a WHOLE lot less than regular credit card companies would charge monthly for their services, and a small price to pay to be able to buy things online, etc.
This seems to me to be a classic case of "buyers beware" like you should be anyway (Common Sense)!! Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into and that the product is right for you (again, Common Sense).
This is not a SCAM in my opinion, just another way for WalMart to make money. They are a business after all and that is what businesses do.
Now I may change my mind about all of this if I decide to cancel my card and have trouble doing it, but I don't see myself doing that any time soon since it has been nothing but a good thing for me. I am truly sorry you others have had such bad luck with it, but like I said before, next time, if you can't read the fine print, it is on the internet to be easily read there too and it is the buyer's responsibility to make sure they are fully informed before making a purchase such as this.
Oh, by the way I had no problem opting out of marketing online and have had no increase in scam lottery emails...or any other spam.
Good Luck to you all and Buyers Beware! Don't rush into purchases like this...RESEARCH, READ, ASK QUESTIONS!!! (I spoke with a very helpful woman on the phone when activating my card)
I am truly sorry you had this trouble, but if you need a credit/debit card like I did and a monthly fee is not an issue with you, then by all means try the reload card. The fee schedule is online www.walmartmoneycard.com It shows the monthly fee, limits, purchase price/s, etc. And answers most any question you can think of.
again, good luck with the problems you have been having, and NO - I DO NOT WORK FOR WALMART lol I am disabled and cannot work.
 11th of Jun, 2008 by    +1 Votes
The walmart company is already rich their trying other ways to get customers money Save money live better my ass!
 17th of Jun, 2008 by    0 Votes
I've been using the card for a few months now for direct deposit of my military pay and untill recently have had virtually no problems. At first my only issue was not being able to understand the customer service representatives. I like getting things done in a timely manner so naturally this irritated me. The other problem I've ran into is an inability to utilize their online bill pay service. I am currently away from home and it could greatly improve the efficency with which I pay bills. I don't have a vehicle here and I hate buming rides. It seems like if a company is going to advertise a service they should atleast make sure they can provide it. Every time I click on a bill pay link the system kicks me back out to the login page. Its been doing this to me about two weeks now. Customer service is taking their time resolving this issue and it seems as if they are giving me the run around. Has anyone else experienced problems will the bill pay service?
 3rd of Jul, 2008 by    +1 Votes
You are right about not being able to understand the rep. They are talking to yoiu from the Phillippines and every girl that you talk to sounds identical. What I am concerned about is my direct deposit. It was suppossed to be deposited in my accoubnt as of 12:01 A.M., one minute after midnight. I callled the phone 877-937-4098 and I think I gotr charged twice because it cut me off and I thought I had to redail, but then it asked me for my zip coede. After all this heppened it turns out that customer service is closed. It should tell you 5ight away when you press the #3 button on your phone. This is the number for customer serivce option. I even went to a bank over 50 miles away. I am going to be so worried that someone ripped off my direct deposit, one of those phillippines that work there. They should be hiring people that speak english . Now I can not even log on their web site because it is no longer there! What now? This is what dissapoints me most about this world today, everybody is out to rip each other off and everything is one big lye. No one is honest (except me) that I know of that is running a busineaa or the like, even our own government! Look wheat they do, they are all a bunch of crooks too. Every single one of them. How do we teach our children what is right and wrong when rules that are meant to br followed can be changed at the drop of a hat and contradictions everywhere. Our own government is a good example of all of these things put together. It is really sad and we wonder why our world is falling apart!!
 10th of Jul, 2008 by    0 Votes
I AM VERY PISS OFF I BROUGH MY GRANDCHILD A RELOADABLE CARD AT WALMART
BECAUSE SHE LIKES TO PURCHASE HER ON CLOTHES I PAID 8.95 WE ARE WAITING ON THE
PERSONALLIZE CARD THAT COME IN THE MAIL NOW THE RIP OFF PART SHE IS UNDERAGE
WELL WHY IN THE HELL THE LADY DIDNOT TELL US THAT WHEN SHE TAKEN THE 15 YEARS OLD MONEY THAT I GAVE HER NOW IF I WANT HER TO HAVE ANOTHER CARD I WILL HAVE TO GET ANOTHER ONE WELL I PAID 8.95 FOR WHAT I COULD HAVE WENT AND GOT A MALL GIFT CARD WE PUT 300.00 ON THAT DAMN CARD I AM UNHAPPY WITH WALMART MONEY CARD MY GRANDCHILD WANT HER CARD THAT WAS SUPPOSE TO COME IN THE MAIL WITH HER NAME ON IT SHE PAID FOR IT NOW THEY SAY SHE IS UNDER AGE
WELL HELL THEY SHOUL HAVE CLARFLY THAT AT THE TIME OF THE SELL I EVEN TOLD THE LADY IT WAS FOR MY 15 YEAR OLD GRANDCHILD
 13th of Jul, 2008 by    +1 Votes
Beware Of The GE Wal-Mart Money Card

The following is what you are agreeing to:

“1 You must maintain value on your Wal-Mart MoneyCard (GreenDot) to pay for
each transaction and all applicable fees. If you attempt a transaction for more
than the value available on your Wal-Mart MoneyCard, the transaction may be
declined.

2 You must pay us immediately on demand if, for any reason, your
Wal-Mart MoneyCard does not have a sufficient balance to cover the amount of a
transaction and amounts owed to us.”


What 2 means is that even if you stop using the card and throw it away, if it is stolen, and a transaction is processed and approved you are liable. It is not anonymous and they know where you are.


What 1 means is that even if you have no balance or a $1, if a merchant processed a charge ligitimate or fraud you pay.


What seems to be a very simple thing, is not simple and in fact is VERY dangerous. What seems to be a safe way to control what is spent in fact is not.


A continuation of the credit card, bank, skam to rip off the consumer. No balance available does not mean no balance available, it really means May which means you get ripped first buy the fruad of merchants and then by Wal-Mart. Try fighting GE and Wal-mart for it, or jsut for the principle of it. Good Luck.


Another case of corporate giants reaching down to the most vulnerable segments of our society to bully and cheat them. There are numerous way to change May to No, but they do not choose to use these. What is it about No that they do not understand.
 13th of Jul, 2008 by    +1 Votes
What is wrong with Debit Cards?

“Debit Card Nightmares

Debit cards have become a very popular way to pay for everything from fast food to rental cars. The Federal Reserve reports that debit card transactions have been growing more than 20 percent annually and have surpassed credit card transactions.

The appeal is understandable. Debit cards are quick and easy to use.

But using a debit card can cost you hundreds and even thousands of dollars. We’ll show you why you should never carry a debit card.

More Risky than Carrying Cash

In it’s 2007 Debit Issuer Study, PULSE EFT Association reported that U.S. financial institutions lost an estimated $662 million to debit card fraud in 2005. There is no end in sight.

You’d be safer carrying cash. Although you don’t have much recourse if it’s lost or stolen, but at least your loss is limited to the amount of the missing currency.

Carry a debit card, and you put the entire balance in your bank account at risk. If you link your checking account to your savings account to avoid overdrafts, you put the balance in both accounts at risk.

More Dangerous than a Credit Card

If a thief gets your credit card, the federal Truth in Lending Act limits your liability for any fraudulent credit card charges to $50. You may not have to pay even that amount, as many financial institutions don’t impose any charge on their defrauded customers. And while the theft is being investigated, you can refuse to pay any part of the unauthorized charges.

Debit cards fall under a completely different law, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. To limit your liability to $50, you have to notify your bank within two business days of discovering that you’re debit card has been lost or stolen. Wait longer than that, but give your bank notice of the fraudulent transactions within 60 days of when your statement is mailed, and your maximum liability jumps to $500. Miss that deadline and you could lose all the money in your account.

Because the debit card accesses fund directly out of your account, you can be left without your grocery money while the fraud claim is being investigated.

The $350 Taco

One trip to Taco Bell was enough to send Joseph Rizk’s checking account into freefall.

Rizk made the mistake of paying for fast food with his debit card. He figures he spent only about $5 more than he had in his account. Unfortunately, by the time he realized there was a problem, the bank had hit him about $350 in overdraft fees. At $25 to $35 per occurrence, it’s easy to rack up hundreds of dollars in needless NSF fees.

“I overdrew, and they pretty much pummeled me with charges, ” said Rizk.

The Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer group, estimates that overdraft charges cost people about $17.5 billion each year. The center’s research reveals that about 45 percent of those overdrafts are the result of using a debit card or taking out cash from the ATM.

Banks used to refuse any debit card transaction that would overdraw a depositor’s account. But not any more. Banks could warn depositors when their accounts are close to being overdrawn. But they don’t.

Instead most financial institutions automatically enroll their depositors in a program that loans them the amount of the overdraft but at a steep price. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that Banks that offer these lending programs can expect a sharp increase in overdraft revenues, as much as 200 to 400 percent.

Calculated as an interest rate, rather than a fee, the cost of these loans is astronomical. The average amount of a point-of-sale purchase that overdraws an account is $14.75. The average fee is more than double that amount. According to the agency, most consumers only use these loans for a few days. So on an overdraft loan, the annual percentage rate can be as high as 20, 000 percent.

In defense of this practice, bankers like to point out that it’s the responsibility of the account holders to monitor their account balances and avoid overdrafts.

Of course, that requires the account holder to know how much money is in their account.

How Can You Know Your Account Balance?

R. C. Welborn, learned the hard way about the risks of using debit cards. To make sure he didn’t overdraw his account, he checked his online bank statement. Since it showed $80 in his checking account, he fell free to make several small purchases a few days before his paycheck was deposited. Using his debit card, he bought two gasoline fill-ups, snacks and cigarettes, totaling about $65.

Although the balance in his account was more than enough to cover the price of what he bought, when he checked his account about ten days later, he found he had incurred $120 in overdraft fees.

“I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I knew I had money in the bank, ” Welborn remembered.

Like most people, Welborn didn’t know that merchants can place a pre- authorization hold on a customer’s account. In situations where the exact amount of the transaction isn’t settled when the approval is given, it makes sense a merchant would want reserve a little more to cover their transaction. If you give your debit card to a waiter, hotel clerk, car rental company, or gas station, the merchant is likely to get an approval of a higher amount to cover any tip on their service, higher purchase amount, or room service. Car rental companies that accept debit cards routinely place holds in the amount of $300 to $500.

Now Welborn understands that the pre- authorization hold the gas station put on his account resulted in overdrafts on at least six other small transactions. He estimates that he paid over $2, 000 in overdraft fees because he used a debit card.

“The quickest way to bankrupt yourself is not knowing what’s going on with your debit card, but if you don’t get a warning when you’re doing it, how to you know?” Welborn asked. “I won’t touch a debit card anymore. I do everything with cash.”

Pre-authorization holds placed by merchants are just one of the factors that make it difficult, if not impossible for a depositor to know his or her available account balance. It’s becoming more difficult to tell when a transaction hits an account.

Some debit cards allow for both signature-based debit card transactions, that, like a check, take a few days to clear, and PIN-based transactions, which hit the depositor’s account instantly. Take into account paper checks that merchants and service providers frequently convert into electronic drafts, and, without real-time account information, it’s impossible to know what’s in any checking account.

Nessa Feddis, senior federal counsel for the American Bankers Association in Washington explains that even the banks don’t have up-to-the-minute information. “We don’t have real-time transactions. There will always be outstanding transactions that the consumer has authorized but have not hit the bank.”

Comparing debit card transactions to a plastic checks, some financial institutions instruct depositors to keep track of their purchases, just like in the old days when checks and drafts were the only way to draw funds from a checking account.

But in the old days, a depositor could wait for their bank statement to reconcile their balance. Now, by the time the statement arrives, the damage may already be done.

“The debit card is really where it’s a serious problem, ” argues Ed Mierzwinski, the consumer program director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in Washington. “It’s harder to keep track of your balance because of the tricks banks use.”

In addition, there are no regulations or statutes that limit the amount of a pre- authorization hold, or the length of time that it can be imposed on an account.

When Penny Chaisson’s bought $20 worth of gas, the station put a hold of $75 on her account, more than 3 times the amount of her purchase. She contacted both the gas station and her bank, but each pointed a finger at the other. Even after escalating her complaint to management, it was 72 hours before the hold was released.

These holds stay in place until the bank or the requesting merchant gets around to releasing the amount held in excess of the purchase amount. Generally this takes a few days, but it could be longer.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Promptly reconciling your account to the monthly statement or monitoring your account balance on-line won’t always prevent loses associated with the use of a debit card.

There is only one solution Don’t carry a debit card. When opening a checking account, it is standard practice for a bank to send the depositor a combination debit/ATM card. However you can pick and choose the services you want to accept. If you want to avoid the risks of having a debit card, but would like the convenience of ATM access, you bank will issue you a card for just that purpose, without the debit card function.

You can always pay for your purchases with cash or a credit card, since both are safer than using a debit card.”

Quoted From: http://creditrepair.topreviewslist.com/center_column/article/Debit_Cards.html

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