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Struggling to Get a Debit Card?
Tips to Help You Out

debit card

Many people who are ready to go cashless, or prefer to carry less cash on themselves, ask the question of a credit card versus a debit card. Which option is better for them? And it comes down to a few basic needs and requirements. A credit card is an opportunity to spend more than you may have initially on hand, which is a great option for those who need more money immediately upfront. A credit card also allows you to build up credit, which down the line can be used to invest in, make big purchases, or get even greater amounts of money for big life decisions later on—think mortgage on a house, a student loan, etc. However, many credit cards come with financial risks. Since you can money you technically don’t have it can be tempting to overspend, and all that overspending can cause debt. And debt is not something anyone wants to have, and it can make you extremely undesirable to banks or lenders down the line.

Meanwhile, a debit card comes with various benefits and lesser risk value. Since debit cards are directly tied to your existing checking account all withdrawals and spending are financially backed by your existing funds. Essentially, it’s the perks without the risk. No need to carry cash and potentially lose it or misplace big bills. No need to worry about maxing out your card, because you have all that you need directly on demand and you can’t spend more than you have so there’s no risk of debt. And all transactions are just as secure as credit cards, with many banks giving protection just like other cards.

As you contemplate how to get a free debit card you may struggle to secure one. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do with your existing accounts that can safeguard and pave the way for a debit card. Here are five tips to help you out.

Choose Wisely

When deciding which debit card to use and apply for choose wisely. A few things to consider are location, frequency, and hours. The location of your debit card bank matters, especially when you first open the account. You want a location that’s nearby and convenient. This way should any issues come up you can easily, and quickly, get to the bank to clear up any problems and speak with someone that is in person, rather than waiting on hold on the phone or potentially experiencing any issues online. A huge benefit of a debit card is the ability to take out cash whenever you need it (something you can’t do with a credit card). You might need cash for gifts, splitting bills, or essentially any cashless transaction. Look for debit cards that have banks in multiple locations, both locally and elsewhere, or have ATMs without fees. Lastly, in addition to the frequency of locations you want a place that has good hours. The last thing you want is to need cash on a moment's notice and either not have a bank nearby or find an ATM with extraneous fees. That’s no fun and a waste of money.

Create a Strong Pin

PINs are easy to guess for hackers. Your date of birth, address, or pretty much any number that’s public information are common pins because they’re easy to remember. But because they’re easy to remember they are also easy to guess. Pick a PIN that is strong and secure. If it’s hard for you to remember then write it down and store it somewhere safe, where others cannot find it but you’ll easily recall it should you need it.

Track Your Transactions

Whether you have an existing card that you’re looking to replace or you have been using cash for every purchase, keep track of your transactions. When you monitor your spending habits it’s easier to see what a bank will see when they view your financial history. Small spends, like a daily cup of coffee, add up in the end. Think about it, a $4 cup of coffee every day can come out to hundreds of dollars in the long run. Yet, at the moment, it’s only $4 so you may not think about it. Bigger transactions also add up sooner than later. What might be a reward, or splurge, at the moment can quickly become a habit. Grab a notebook and create three separate columns—date, item, cost—and monitor it every week or month. Eventually you’ll be able to spot places you could have saved and easily identify your spending habits.

Go Automatic

If you’re confident in your financial situation but have a bad habit of missing payments, a common problem many people have, consider setting up automatic payments. Automatic payments are an easy and effective way to guarantee all of your transactions are covered, and automatic emails give you insight into what your account notifications are so that you know if an account runs low. To avoid overdraft fees on a debit card it’s best to create automatic updates so that you’re always aware of how much money you have.

Arrive Prepared

Make sure your driver’s license is valid and up to date. Have your social security card on hand (some banks will ask fr this, but not all). Items with proof of address, such as an electric bill, piece of mail, or another bank account. Student bank accounts have proof of enrollment from an accredited school.

These five tips are easy ways to get a debit card and maintain good credit. The biggest problems with debit cards are overdraft fees or lack of access to cash when you need it most. Keep these pointers in mind the next time you’re interested in exploring a debit card.

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