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4 Risky Places To Swipe Your Debit Card, debit card loans.#Debit #card #loans

4 risky places to use your debit card

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Debit cards are different

Debit cards and credit cards may look the same, but there’s a major difference. If you spot unauthorized charges on your credit card bill, you can alert the company, decline the charges and not pay the bill, keeping your money safe. With a debit card, your money instantly disappears from your checking account.

Because of that, even clear-cut cases of fraud where victims are protected from liability by consumer protection laws can cause significant hardship.

While fraud is always a possibility, being careful where you use your debit card can help keep your checking account balance out of the hands of thieves. Here’s where to be on your guard with your card.

Are you a victim of fraud? Keep an eye on your credit with free tools from myBankrate today.

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Skimming ATMs

The idea that outdoor ATMs are among the most dangerous places to swipe a debit card seems a little bit absurd. But some ATMs present the perfect opportunity for thieves to skim users’ debit cards, says Chris McGoey, a security consultant based in Los Angeles.

Skimming is a method of capturing a bank customer’s card information by running it through a machine that reads the card’s magnetic strip. Those machines are often placed over the real card slots at ATMs and other card terminals.

You’re better off using an ATM inside a retail outlet or other high-trafficked, well-lit place.

Julie Conroy, research director for the retail banking practice at Aite Group, a Boston-based financial services research firm, says even the card terminals that card users must swipe to get into ATM vestibules are being used as a skimming site by criminals. You can spot ATM skimmers by checking for ATM components that look beat-up or askew, she says.

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Stealing PINs at gas stations

Gas stations are another danger zone for debit card use. The payment terminals have many of the characteristics card fraudsters love, Conroy says.

“In a gas station where you do have a whole bunch of pay-at-the-pump kinds of things and minimal supervision, it’s pretty easy for a bad guy to put a skimming device on and put a little pinpoint camera there and compromise debit cards that way,” Conroy says. Thieves often use small cameras to capture footage of debit card users entering their PINs so they can have free access to their money.

She says even if the thief doesn’t manage to get your debit card personal identification number, or PIN, from such a device, he still may be able to duplicate the card’s magnetic strip and use it for “sign and swipe” Visa or MasterCard transactions.

With the high potential for fraud in pay-at-the-pump debit transactions, it might make sense to use an alternative such as cash or credit cards the next time you fill up.

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The web is a risky place

Debit cards are a convenient way to buy products online, especially for those who don’t like to use credit cards. Unfortunately, the web is one of the most dangerous places to make purchases, Conroy says.

“Online is the No. 1 place where consumers should not use their debit cards,” she says. “It’s susceptible at so many points. The consumer could have malware on their computer, so it could be at their endpoint that the data get compromised. It could be a man-in-the-middle attack where somebody is eavesdropping on their communications via the wireless network. And then at the other end, that data goes into a database at the merchant. As we’ve seen with some of the higher-profile breach events … that data is going to be vulnerable if (they’re) not properly cared for.”

Aside from the potential for hacking at many different points in a transaction, a fundamental problem with using debit cards online is it’s impossible to know who is handling your information.

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Restaurants keep customer data on file

“Would you care for a side of debit card fraud with that?”

Restaurant servers don’t ask that question, but they might as well with the standard practice of taking customers’ debit cards to run them behind closed doors.

“Any place where the card is out of hand” can increase the chances of fraud, says McGoey. “The guy comes to your table, takes your card and disappears for a while, so he or she has privacy,” giving that person the opportunity to copy your card information.

Even restaurants without sit-down service can present a threat. Conroy says using debit cards to order delivery can be risky because cashiers tend to keep customer payment information on file. That may make future orders more convenient, but small businesses rarely take the steps necessary to safeguard payment information, she says.

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More convenient than checks. Safer than cash. And accepted by millions of your favorite locations around the world, in-app, and online. These are just a few of the reasons you d want a debit card from Citizens Bank in your wallet.


  • Use your debit card for all of your everyday purchases at millions of locations worldwide
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If you have a Citizens Bank checking account and do not have a debit card, you can order your card at your local branch or by calling 1-800-922-9999.

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How Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Report?

Your debt consolidation credit report should look better than the credit report you had before you combined your bills. Ultimately, the goal is to improve your credit and not harm it. That is why it is important to understand how debt consolidation will affect your credit.

Your Debt Consolidation Credit Report: Positive Effects

One positive effect that debt consolidation can have on your credit score is the fact that several accounts will appear to be paid off. Even though debt consolidation creates a new credit account, lenders consider the other accounts as paid in full.

Timely repayment of new credit will also have a positive effect on your credit in the long term. Unfortunately, this raise in your credit score will take time, as you need a history payments on the account. If you continue to use your credit cards, it is important to keep up to date with all of your payments in order for your credit score to improve.

It is better to borrow against your equity line, than it is to apply for new credit cards repeatedly in order to take advantage lower interest rates. Using personal loans for debt consolidation is usually the best option, and as long as you pay your bills on time, your credit score should eventually rise.

Your Debt Consolidation Credit Report: Negative Effects

Depending on the actions that you take after debt consolidation, you can end up hurting your score. Missing a payment can bring your credit score down. It is important to keep up with your debt consolidation loan payments, and any other credit payments that you are required to make, otherwise your score will drop.

Closing credit card accounts after you have consolidated the debt can negatively impact your score. Never close your oldest accounts because they will give you the longest credit history. You may also want to wait until the debt is paid off before closing accounts. This is because your overall available credit will decrease, yet your debt level will remain. That makes it look like you have maxed out, and are therefore a high risk.

If you use a debt settlement program to consolidate your bills and the method includes negotiating a reduction of the debt that you owe, your credit report will be negatively impacted. Finding a way not to pay creditors the full amount that you owe does not look good.

Using balance transfers for debt consolidation may have a negative impact on your credit report as well. This is especially true if you apply for a new credit card in order to use an introductory interest rate. If you do not pay off the full balance by the end of the trial period, your interest rates will return to normal. Applying for new credit every six months is also frowned upon.

If you handle debt consolidation properly, the long term effect on your credit should be positive. Go about the wrong way, and you can do more harm than good to your credit report.

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Credit card debts

Personal credit cards provide a convenient and widely accepted way to pay for general and household expenses. Some of their features, however, may lead you into debt, particularly when your income is reduced and you are adjusting to changed financial circumstances.

Many people may think of getting a second credit card when they are struggling to make payments on the first. This is a serious debt trap. If you use one card to make payments on another or to keep making purchases beyond your means, your debt will spiral out of control.

You should contact your bank or financial institution to ask for assistance with managing your credit card debt. Available options include requesting a lower credit limit or cancelling the card. Ultimately, though, you need to take control of your spending and avoid using your credit card to buy goods and services that you simply cannot afford.

Please note the information on this page applies only to credit cards for personal expenses, not business or investment.

When you can’t pay off your credit card each month

Credit cards allow you to spend money you don’t necessarily have, and in this way are very dangerous for people with limited income.

Credit card interest is usually the second highest rate of interest for any type of loan after payday, or short term, loans. The only way to avoid the high interest is to stop using your credit card for cash advances and to pay the whole balance within the interest-free period.

If you have a credit card and only pay the minimum monthly payment you’ll end up in debt. By paying just the minimum payment, $1000 on your credit card can become an 11 year loan, even with no extra purchases.

When you can’t pay your minimum monthly payment

A credit card calculator can help you check how long it will take you to pay off credit card debt under a number of scenarios.

By law, your credit card statement will have a warning and show you how much you ll pay if you only make minimum repayments.

If you don’t pay the minimum monthly repayment, you’ll have to pay extra interest and usually a late payment fee as well. This will be so even if you don’t use the card for new purchases. A late payment fee may also be added for payments after the due date.

Flexible payment arrangements for credit cards

As with all credit for personal or household purposes covered under consumer credit law and the Code of Banking Practice, your bank or financial institution is required to consider requests for flexible payment arrangements if you are experiencing financial hardship.

If you can’t afford the minimum monthly payment, or you simply want to tackle your overall credit card debt, you need to contact the hardship area of your lender, explain that you’re experiencing financial hardship, and ask if they will vary the terms of your credit card contract. If you cancel your card, you can try to negotiate for no interest to be charged on the debt, or at least an interest rate much lower than your usual credit card rate.

Because of the complex nature of credit card debt and the high levels of interest and charges, you should seek help when managing your credit card debt before it becomes an ongoing problem.

Understand your rights and options

Find out more about:

  • your rights for negotiating changed payment arrangements for credit card debt, including how to proceed if your lender refuses your proposal.
  • the range of options available for dealing with your credit card debt.
  • debt collection procedures for when you don’t pay your credit card debt.

If your credit card provider is threatening or has commenced court proceedings against you, you should seek legal advice urgently. Consumer Action Law Centre provides specialist legal advice on credit and debt matters. You should also immediately lodge a complaint with the relevant EDR scheme about any concerns you have including your financial hardship. Your credit card provider is then required to halt the court proceedings to see if the matter can be resolved by the EDR scheme.

Keep a record of all details of your contact with your lender, including the date and time of any calls, and the name of the person you spoke to.

How to avoid credit card debt

In a time of financial hardship you need to act quickly to bring your credit card spending under control and avoid extra interest and charges. You can do this if you:

  • make your purchases using cash or a debit card if possible. Avoid using your credit card unless you can pay off the balance in full in the interest-free period.
  • if you can, pay the whole balance on the card within the interest-free period to avoid high interest charges. Purchases with your card will end up costing a lot more if you don’t keep up with your payments.
  • don’t exceed the limit unless you expect to be able to pay it off in the short-term. When your income is reduced, there is a risk you’ll exceed your credit card limit if you continue using your card. Don’t get a second credit card believing that will solve your problems. Unless you can definitely pay the card off in the short-term, another card will make your debt problem worse rather than fixing it.
  • avoid using your credit card for cash advances, as interest charges usually apply immediately.
  • consider cancelling any direct debits you have to get more control over what you pay and when. Make sure though that you are not breaching contractual obligations. Seek legal advice from Consumer Action Law Centre if in doubt.

The cost of credit card debt

If you only pay the minimum monthly payment off your credit card balance, you may be reducing your debt by much less than you think.

The following examples are based on a scenario where:

  • you have a typical credit card; and
  • you don’t use the card for new purchases; and
  • minimum payment is set at the lesser of 2.5% or $10; and
  • interest will be charged from the date of purchase (unless you pay it off each month); and
  • interest will be charged at approximately 16% per year.

How $1,000 turns into an 11 year loan

Suppose you spend $1,000, and make minimum repayments. You now have a debt on which you must pay interest. Of your first 2.5% minimum payment:

  • about $13 pays interest; and
  • just $12 comes off the debt.

By just paying the minimum balance, you will take more than 11 years to pay off that $1,000 debt. In that time, you will pay about $860 in interest.

How $10,000 turns into a 27-year loan

Imagine now that you spend $10,000, and make only minimum repayments. As the debt gets bigger, minimum payments do an even worse job of getting rid of your debt. Of your first 2.5% minimum payment:

  • about $133 dollars pays interest; and
  • just $115 comes off the debt.

Minimum repayments now take more than 27 years to pay off your debt, costing you about $11,000 in interest.

Case study

Stephen was an IT professional who was retrenched at the age of 55 after working with the same company for 25 years. His wife, Marcia, had left her job in administration at a hospital four years earlier following an illness that still affected her. Stephen and Marcia’s three children all still lived at home. The eldest was at university, the middle one was working in retail at a music store, and the youngest was in Year 11 at secondary school.

Stephen and Marcia had a large mortgage. Stephen intended to get another job following a six week family break, but when they got back home, finding a new job was more challenging than Stephen anticipated. He also felt that he was being overlooked for the few positions available in favour of younger, more confident candidates.

Stephen and Marcia started to use their credit cards for most of their purchases. Their previous “good credit rating” from the past provided them with access to new lines of credit with very few questions asked. Their credit card debts and associated interest began to build up to a massive level.

They knew what was happening but put off doing anything about it, hoping Stephen would find a new job, and could pay out the growing debts.

He contacted a financial counsellor who prepared a current financial statement that revealed that Stephen and Marcia had purchased some shares.

The financial counsellor encouraged Marcia and Stephen to sell the shares and pay the proceeds off the credit card debt. He also helped them to work out a plan to reduce their credit card debt by paying the card with the highest interest rate first, and cancelling all but one credit card that was only to be used in the case of emergencies.

After several months, Stephen managed to get a job, albeit a low paid one compared with what he had been used to. The income was enough for Stephen and Marcia to cover day-to-day expenses and work out payment plans with their creditors.

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Frequently asked questions

It’s hard to imagine life without a credit card as these days you can use them almost anywhere, anytime. Perhaps you want to splash out in the sales, treat your family to a holiday or maybe indulge in some online shopping. There’s no doubt that credit cards can be a quick and easy way to pay for a wide range of goods and services. Plus, you can spread the cost over several months, allowing you to budget. But picking the right credit card can be confusing as there are so many different deals on the market. Our guide explains how credit cards work – and how to select the right card for you.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is basically a loan, but if you clear your balance in full when you receive your monthly statement, the loan is interest free. If you can’t afford to pay off the outstanding debt, you can make monthly payments, but you will normally be charged interest. The rates vary, but 19% is typical.

Credit card comparison

When using our credit card comparison tool, decide what you are going to use the card for. You can choose between balance transfer cards, purchase cards, money transfer cards, cards that reward your spending and cards to use abroad

  • 0% purchase cards: enable you to buy items upfront, while paying off the amount you’ve spent over a stated period without incurring any interest charges.
  • Balance transfer cards: enable you to transfer an existing credit card balance to a new card that charges less interest.
  • Reward cards: – these cards offer cashback or loyalty points.

If you want to use a card for shopping, there’s little point in applying for a 0% balance transfer rate. Shoppers should search for a deal that offers a low rate on purchases. Some cards, for example, charge 0% on purchases for a number of months, and they can be a cost effective way to pay for a big ticket item, such as a washing machine or sofa. If you clear the debt before the 0% deal expires, you will pay no interest whatsoever.

Low rate cards are better suited to people who are not able to pay their balance in full each month. There is no introductory interest rate offer. Instead, you will pay a relatively low rate of interest for as long as it takes to clear your debt.

People who have run up debts on another card or cards at a high rate of interest can save money with a balance transfer deal. Let’s say you have accumulated debts of £3000 on a card that charges interest at 19%. If you switch the outstanding balance to a card that charges 0% interest for 24 months, you can instantly cut the cost of your debt.

Reward cards are ideal if you pay off your balance every month as the interest rate is irrelevant. You can therefore look out for a card that offers cashback or loyalty points.

There are also various deals available for people who take their credit card abroad and for those who have a poor credit history.

Pros and cons of credit cards

Credit cards can be a great way to pay for goods and services without having to stump up the money upfront. You can even use your credit card like an interest-free loan, allowing you to borrow money for free. You also get some protection under the Consumer Credit Act if you buy something with a credit card.

But let’s not forget that it’s easy to run up expensive debts with a credit card, especially if you pay off only the minimum balance each month. You can also get into financial difficulty if you don’t stick to the rules. For example, most companies charge a penalty if you miss a payment, make a late payment or breach your credit limit. Bear in mind, too, that most issuers reserve their best deals for people with a spotless credit record, so your application could be turned down.

Find the right credit card

The best credit card for you depends on whether you will pay off your balance each month and how you intend to use the card. Smart Search will ask you a selection of questions to help determine which type of credit card best suits your needs, without leaving a mark on your credit file.

There are hundreds of different credit card deals but you can compare all the leading offers quickly and easily with Moneysupermarket’s online service. So, whether you want to switch a balance or you are looking for a 0% deal on purchases, we have all the information you need at the click of a mouse.

Moneysupermarket is a credit broker – this means we’ll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a fee by the lenders – though the size of that payment doesn’t affect how we show products to customers.