Purchases you should never make with your debit card

Avoid a debit card disaster

BRUNSWICK, Ohio - Despite their popularity, debit cards are causing more and more problems for consumers.

Amy Morell of Brunswick can't wait to take her 4-year-old daughter Ella on a family vacation to "the happiest place on earth." Unfortunately, planning her dream vacation to Disney World has turned into a nightmare.

She made a common mistake when she booked the trip with a local travel agency.

"I used my debit card," said Morell.

Morell was supposed to be charged for four plane tickets, but a glitch in the travel agency's computer system led to seven additional charges.

"Instead of $1,200 they took $3,300 out of my bank account," said Morell.

By the time she realized there was a problem, Morell's bank had already charged her multiple overdraft fees, totaling more than $150.

The April issue of Consumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine said debit cards should never be used for large purchases like vacations, electronics or furniture. One mistake can financially ruin you.

It took multiple phone calls and visits to the bank and travel agency for Amy to resolve her situation.

"Unfortunately it's going to take 10 business days to refund me the overdraft charges," said Morell.

ShopSmart Magazine said while debit cards can help you avoid getting deep in debt, they can still get you in a lot of trouble. Their experts advise consumers to avoid using debit cards on trips to foreign countries, such as Mexico, because of the high risk of fraudulent charges.

Don't use debit cards for online shopping, for security reasons. Lastly, don't use your debit card to raise your credit score. You need a credit card to do that.

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