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Debit cards demystified

Debit cards demystified

Know all the ins and outs about using your debit card? Think again.

We all know how convenient it is to swipe a debit card. Yet, there are still a number of misconceptions that you should be aware of.

Ryan Prozesky, FNB Consumer Core Banking CEO, says taking time to get familiar with the overall use and added benefits of a debit card can help consumers realise that it is more than just a tool for withdrawing cash and swiping for purchases.

Here are some of the common misconceptions about debit cards:

A debit card won’t impact my credit profile – this is generally true. However, if you are using an overdraft facility which is linked to your transactional card it can either help improve or lower your overall credit score. If you do have an overdraft facility, lenders are able to track how you honour your overdraft repayments when deciding whether or not to give you a loan. Make sure you deposit sufficient funds into your account on a monthly basis to settle your overdraft.

You don’t get bank rewards from debit cards – though it is advisable for you to swipe your credit card to get maximum rewards, you can still qualify for rewards when using your debit card. For example, FNB customers can join the eBucks Rewards Programme for free and get rewarded when using their qualifying debit cards for certain transactions.

Debit cards can’t be used for online shopping – over the past few years, a number of online merchants started accepting debit cards as a form of payment enabling consumers to conveniently shop online while still enjoying the same convenience and security measures offered when using a credit card online.

Furthermore, VISA or Mastercard credit and debit cards are accepted by all online retailers who display the logos on their websites.

Using a debit card is expensive – always opt for swiping or using your card for purchases as this service is offered for free by banks instead of withdrawing cash which can be expensive. If you really need cash rather use your debit card to withdraw at selected retailer till points as it is more cost-effective.

Lastly, some consumers who have unfortunately been victims of crime still hold the view that debit cards are susceptible to fraud.

“Debit cards use the latest security measures and technology in the market. Most of the cards are chip and pin enabled offering an added layer of security to consumers. However, the onus remains on consumers to always keep their pins and cards safe by employing effective security measures provided by their banks whenever they swipe or use their cards online,” concludes Prozesky.


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