QWhat Is A Debit Card?
AAs its name implies, it is not a credit card. Instead of running up a bill that you pay at the end of the month, the debit card runs down your checking account at the moment the sale is made. Merchants like these because they get instant payment without worrying about bad checks. Debit cards are convenient but they do have drawbacks. It is a lot more painful to resolve a problem with a purchase if the money is gone from your account (as with a debit card) than if it's just numbers on a piece of paper (as with a credit card). And if you lose a debit card, your whole account can be emptied with no recourse for you. You decide whether you want to take that risk. A reader has reported that his Schwab account has a debit-type card associated with it, but it is treated like a credit card for other purposes. In other words, it is a credit card, but the debit is made immediately to his Schwab account. Consumers in the know don't like debit cards because they offer less protection than credit cards in the event of a billing dispute.