If you're still carrying around wads of cash or a bulky checkbook, you might want to consider a Check Card for shopping. What is a Check Card and how does it work?
Check Cards are the younger hipper siblings of ATM (automated teller machine) cards. You can get cash and make deposits with your Check Card.
You can also use your Check Card when you buy something at a store by swiping it through the merchant's machine when you complete the sale. You can complete the sale two ways; you can key your PIN (personal identification number) into the merchant's machine, which is considered a debit transaction. Or, if the merchant accepts VISA, you can choose a credit transaction and simply sign the sales slip ( no need for a PIN). Either way the money is deducted from your checking account.
When you choose to pay via debit transaction you can get money back. This means that the sale is $31.50, you choose debit and ask for $20.00 cash back. The sale is completed by withdrawing $51.50 from your checking account and is considered by RFCU as one (1) debit transaction. RFCU allows ten (10) debit transactions per month without charge, after ten (10), there is a $0.75 charge per transaction.
RFCU has no fees for using your Check Card by choosing a credit transaction. So, in order to save money, use your Check Card by choosing the credit transaction as much as you can. And if you need cash, combine the debit transaction with cash back to count a one (1) debit transaction. Remember, either choice, credit or debit, the money will be withdrawn from your checking account.
Check Cards can help you manage your money. Let's face it, cash flies out of wallets. If you're like most people, cash-in-hand soon transfers to someone else's. Carrying a Check Card instead of large amounts of cash might make you stop and think before handing it over.
Check Cards save time. You'll love your Check Card if your hate handing over a major credit card and your driver's license each time you write a check. Then waiting patiently while the clerk writes the information down, then eyes you disapprovingly for lying about weight.
A Check Card is easier to get that a credit card. If your credit is shaky, or you're too young to have established credit history, Check Cards give you the convenience of credit without the risk. Since the money is debited from your checking account, you also can improve or establish your credit worthiness by using the card responsibly. RFCU offers Check Cards to members who open a checking account.
They help with overspending. With a credit card, you can freely spend way more than you can afford, and you won't even have to face up to it until you get your next bill. Check Cards help keep spending sprees under control because your ability to purchase is directly linked to the money in your checking account.
No matter how many protections are in place, nothing replaces good old common sense. Even if you can get your money back, or won't be held responsible for unauthorized use, you'll still have to deal with the hassle of winding your way through the system to get your financial affairs back in order.
Guard your PIN. You will pick your PIN with your Check Card. Don't pick numbers that match your birthday, address, phone number, or Social Security Number - thieves aren't dumb. Memorize your PIN, and put it in a safe, accessible place in your home. Don't carry it in your wallet or write it on your card!
Keep your receipts. Nothing spells disaster like unrecorded purchases. Use your receipts to enter all transactions into your check book register, and keep them until you compare them against your monthly statement. Don't toss them in the trash at the store or at home-thieves don't mind dumpster diving for card numbers.
Report lost or stolen Check Cards immediately to RFCU' card hotline 800-472-3272 during off hours and to our office 800-458-7004 during business hours.
Never give your credit or Check Card numbers over the phone unless you placed the call and expect to be charged for something. Don't fall for the line that someone needs your card number for "verification" purposes.
Use a secure browser when you shop online. Before you enter your credit or Check Card number on the checkout screen, look for the lock or key at the bottom of the screen or look up to the URL address line to see the letters "https." These symbols tell you you're at a screen site and your financial data will be encrypted for your protection.
Never send your account information via e-mail-it's not secure.
To report a lost or stolen Visa Check Card call 800-472-3272.
Carry only the cards you need. Keep a list of all your card numbers and issuing institutions at home in a safe place.
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