Tips for Using a Debit Card

Tips for Using Your Debit Card


Everyone I know uses a debit card, and it's been that way for quite some time. I've heard tales of some people who are still holding out and using personal checks and cash only, but debit cards have definitely caught on for the most part.

Here are a few handy tips and things to consider that will make you feel more informed and confident at the cash register.



  • PIN-based transactions: As the name suggests, you have to enter your PIN to make a purchase. The amount of your purchase is immediately debited from your account.
  • Signature-based transactions: Again, the name gives this one away. Your signature is required to complete a purchase. It can take up to two or three, occasionally more, days for the amount of your purchase to be debited from your account.
  • Transactions requiring your PIN are generally more difficult for fraudsters to conduct than those asking for your signature since only you should know your PIN and anyone can sign your name.
  • Before you even activate your debit card, ask your bank if it charges any fees for using the card. Note that some merchants charge a fee when you make a purchase, be sure to check.
  • Choose a PIN that’s not obvious, so avoid using numbers like your date of birth or address.
  • Keep your PIN in a safe place and do not share it with anyone.

Total Deposits at Washington Mutual are FDIC insured. Thank you to WaMu for sponsoring this post.
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