Financial Literacy for Everyone

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Do you feel more comfortable spending the money you know you have? If so, a debit card might be your best option. When you make purchases, it withdraws funds directly from your checking account, so you won’t spend more than you have.

Debit Cards and Prepaid Cards

5 Smart Debit Card Practices

  1. Always know your current bank account balance and available funds.
  2. Know your daily cash withdrawal and spending limits and contact your lender if you need to raise or lower amounts.
  3. Use your debit card to get cash back when making purchases, to avoid ATM fees.
  4. Receive free, automatic alerts to protect your account if:
    • ATM withdrawals or any debit card activity exceed your set dollar limits.
    • Your online ID or passwords change.
    • Large transactions are made.
  5. If you plan on using your debit card across state and international lines, let your bank know ahead of time, to prevent fraud or security alerts.

How Prepaid Cards Work
You may have received a prepaid card before as a gift. Unlike debit cards, prepaid cards are not tied to a bank account. When you make a purchase with a prepaid card, the amount is subtracted from the balance of the card. Here’s what you can do with it:

  • Make purchases in person, online or by phone
  • Reload the card with additional funds
  • Give gifts to friends and family
  • Withdraw cash from an ATM or bank
  • Receive wages or funds by direct deposit to the card
  • Pay bills

Prepaid cards as a financial teaching tool – Prepaid cards can be a great way to help young people gain experience budgeting, using ATMs and making purchases. Because you aren’t given a line of credit, you can’t overdraw from your account. The cards are low-risk and allow parents to access the accounts online.

Prepaid cards as an alternative check cashing tool – Many consumers still operate outside the traditional banking system and take their checks to check cashing stores. This practice can get quite expensive with fees, so choosing a prepaid card that offers the ability to directly deposit checks without ATM withdrawal fees will save you money in the long run.

Need a little guidance on how to correctly fill out financial institution forms? Consider using these step-by-step guides for making a deposit, writing a check, using a transaction register, reading a bank statement and reading a credit card statement.