On Fri, 05 May 2017 06:08:35 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I will. Writing it about it here helps me organize my thoughts, prior
to my assault on the great lump of clay, when I get back to the
States. Lump of clay meaning nothing will change. I did find a
banking forum by bankers for bankers, and one short thread rougly on
this subject, about what was required by law.. Only two answers and
the second was that there is no point to doing more than the law
requires. Of course pleasing the customer might be a reason, but iiuc
he didn't think so.
I know. Call on me! Call on me!
When you use a debit card in a gas station they do no know how much you
are going to pump. They put a hold on $XXX.xx in case you are going to
fill up a truck or camper. Once the actual charge comes through, they
adjust to the actual amount.
Yes, same deal. That is why it is not good to use a debit card for gas
stations and car rentals. They can tie up your funds for a while.
I had the same thing happen with a hotel, they reserve some amount
of money in case you charge things to the room or steal the towels,
Of course, that was a credit card in my case. The pending charge
disappeared after a few days.
Did the bank send you an email alert about the hold? (Well, do you
have it set up for email alerts at all?)
Did the alert call it a hold or use the same words they use for an
Did they send another email when the hold was lifted? Sending the
first but not the second is like sending a letter, "Your baby has been
kidnapped" and then never saying when your 2-month old child who can't
walk to a telephone and can't use a telephone is released.
Did the bank send an alert about the final actual charge from the
I tried the email thing once and it was just annoying so I turned
off that option. Really I have no idea if they would have notified
me of a block of credit on hold.
I knew this was common practice in some industries but I never
noticed it in action before.
I only noticed the pending charge because I checked my statement
for some other reason. I use a credit card so it doesn't overly
concern me as I can dispute it later. If I used a debit card I'd
be checking all the time because the money would disappear from my
account if there was fraud.
Not a fan. Good thing you had enough cash in the account but maybe
traveling is a good time to use credit cards.
Especially if you are going to certain places. I have been going down
to the FL Keys for 12 years and EVERY year I get my card stopped at
least once. This is over 4 different cards during the year. If I call in
and let them know, they say I don't need it w/in continental US and then
I run afoul of the computer. Never have understood why the computer
doesn't note that I go to the same place at the same time every year,
but it doesn't.
I go on line and give the travel information but did have a problem one
I did have an episode last week though. I carry two Shell cards. One
is a company card, the other personal. Stopped for gas and swiped the
card and entered the zip code. Said it was incorrect. OK, maybe a
typo, put it in again. Nope, third try refused it. Use a Visa instead.
A hundred miles later, it clicked. I swiped the company card instead
of my personal card, duh!
Make sure they are different. Like a Master Card and Visa card. I have
been in a place that would only take one kind.
I usually have several cards with me. Seems that each one gives
different ammounts of cash back at different places. One will give 3 %
at a drug store, another will give 3 % at a gas station, and one gives
back 5 % at the choice stores of the month. Then there is the cards for
each store that give cash back only at that store.
I do carry three kinds. Overkill maybe but I'm covered.
After Costco switched to Visa and I also had to replace my Costco
American Express, I took to carrying a cheat sheet (okay, tiny scrap
of paper) to remind me what rewards were better in what type of store.
It's gotten complicated. Nice problem to have.
Well, the point is not to remind me of what I spent, but to know if
someone is using my card-number. Not very likely, but that's why I do
it. It also makes it easier to note what each charge is for because
it almost always comes the day I spend the money, even when I'm in
Europe. If I wait until the end of the month, I won't know what any
of the charges are.
But now that I see there is little relationship between what they
email me and what they charge me, to a great extent is worse than
nothing. I guess the grocery stores get it right. And if anyone else
were using the number, I'd know about it.
I asked BoAmerica once if I could dispute a debit card charge, and
I'm not sure but I think I was told yes. But it may well vary by
This is what one of the boa webpages says:
"How do I dispute a transaction on my ATM or debit card?
We recommend that you contact the merchant prior to calling us about a
dispute as it's generally faster and simpler for you to attempt to
resolve the question with the merchant directly before going through
the dispute process. [I'm sure that's usually true.]
To dispute a debit card transaction, please call us at 877.366.1121."
Of course, this doesn't actually say you can get your money back. I
wouldn't put it past them to have a dispute process where you can't
win, or if you win you don't get your money back. I don't trust boa
at all. Did you hear how they would reorder checks so that if a
customer was going to be overdrawn, they'd put the big checks first,
regardless of what order they came in on, so he'd run out of money on
the first check or two and the maximum number would bounce.
Wells Fargo did the same thing. I consider it outright stealing.
I think they paid a big fine but they should have gone to jail for a
I have two credit cards with me. I thought I decided to carry one of
them, but it's still in my suitcase in my room. And today, a closed
gas station woudln't take my card. Don't know why. I can't
understand the language on the pump's screen, and the girl I got to
help me didn't know enough English to translate. (She had had trouble
too, at first and had asked me for help.)
The big difference is that CC liability is limited by the FCBA (Fair
Credit Billing Act) while debit card transactions are under EFTA
(Electronic Funds Transfer Act) because it is a direct funds transfer,
not a credit transaction.
The limitations of you liability under the two is quite different--
Maximum liability for fraudulent transactions: $50.
Report before fraudulent transaction occurs; $0
Many credit cards promise zero liability for all fraudulent
transactions, but that's not required by law so they can renege or
change the rules at their whim.
Maximum liability for fraudulent transactions: UNLIMITED
Reported before unauthorized transactions: $0
Reported within two days: $50
Reported within 60 days: $500
After 60 days: no protection. (IOW, they can get it all)
Most debit card issuers have signed agreement with VISA/MC who
underwrite virtually all issued in the US to extend similar consumer
protection to customers as with CCs. But, again, this is the issuer
voluntarily agreeing to this; it is not required by law.
The biggest difference is what you're already experiencing except in
spades--when a debit card transaction occurs, real _OR_ fraudulent, the
money is gone from your account at that instant and it's up to somebody
else to get it back or you're out.
OTOH, if you dispute a CC transaction before you've paid it, then you're
not out anything out of pocket until the process is resolved.
In the former, you could be totally destitute overnight if somebody got
access to the debit card and even if your ultimate liability is $0,
you've got to go through a recovery process before the money is back in
the account. Meanwhile, the account may have been drained and you've
got other bills to pay and no money to pay with...the snowball effect
can be disastrous.
I will not have a debit card...just too much risk that don't need to
take when CCs are all around without the same issues.
I don't know just how fast these "holds" actually get cleared; I would
presume within minutes if not seconds after the transaction is actually
completed the final billing transaction occurs.
Thus, even though your bank balance really does take such a "ding", it
lasts only a very short time and so unless you're trying to do two
transactions simultaneously, you never really notice.
OTOH, if somebody actually makes a fraudulent transaction, now they've
either got the actual hard cash if it were an ATM withdrawal or the
merchandise or whatever it was and the $$ are gone from your account not
to return _UNTIL_ you make the complaint and go through the process.
If it is really fraud, the chances of them cooperating as BOA suggests
you should do first is, of course, zero. Only in the case of you're
dissatisfied with a purchase or the like does that ever come into play;
probably the least likely occurrence in the real world with gas pump
skimmers and all the other nefarious ways to compromise your security.
Glad to have cheered your day... :)
I tried to call the local gasoline company today, to learn about
their end of things (The gas station guy gave me their number, told me
to call them, and he's right.) but I couldn't get the phone to work.
My landlady/roommate told me it's a toll-free number but it's one
can't call from a cell phone!!!! So tomorrow I'll use her home phone.
For that, they'd need the actual card. Which indeed I could lose,
but they'd also need the PIN (which is memorized and not written on
This is btw, why I want those email alerts, not to read about my
purchases but about whoever that guy is who's spending my money.
Good point. I think I was carried away with the fact that in this
case, it wasn't fraud and the merchant ... well he didn't have a good
explanation since he could barely speak English, but he pointed me to
Yes, the bank is mostly just saying "Go away, kid. You bother me."
But it's not because of the bank that I went first to the gas station.
I wanted to hear from him first. Glad I did.
And I appreciate it. I'm going to send your original letter to my
niece and nephew for their birthdays.
I have to read this in more detail, but assuming it convinces me to
stop using the debit card, doesn't that mean I should also stop
carrying it? OTOH, of course if I lose my wallet I'll notice that
pretty quickly, so maybe the danger with the DebitCard is that it will
be skimmed and the numbers known**. So that would mean not using it
**Does skimming get the expiration date and the 3-number code on the
back? If not, how do they use it?
But it seems the result will be the same in the long run. If I lose
the dispute or fail to dispute it, I'll lose the money, debit or
credit. And if I win the dispute, I'll either retain the money or get
it back, and those two are close enough to each other that I'd be
happy either way.
Someone with all his money in the debit account could be, but even now
that I've started keeping more money there, it's never over 4000.
Except during this trip when it is up to 7000^^^. If they were to,
temporarily, get the whole 7000, I'd be very unhappy, but I still have
two credit cards to live on (except I think the charges for cash
advances are very high. ??? But I guess I would have to do it. Yes,
that's the reason I use the debit card, because the only charge for
cash from the ATM is ....see below***
^^^From which is paid my supplemental health insurance, storage unit,
phone, electricity, etc., at least 1200 of bills (for 3 months) back
in the states, But I put more in than I'll need, just in case.
To use a credit card for this, I'd have to take out a cash advance on
the CC for all the cash I expect to need for the whole trip, (or bring
all that cash with me). Or I can get less, but do it several times.
My recollectiion is that there's an initial charge for borrowing the
money that would make doing it several times substantially more
So I'm going to predict that you will say to get cash from ATMs *at a
bank^^, as opposed to a gas station etc.* with the debit card and use
the credit card for everything else?????? Am I right about that?
^^On the theory that a bank's ATM won't skim my card
** well it may be mrore that the 1% I said in another post, because I
didn't consider that they might use a penalizing exchange rate, or a
good exchange rate and just not tell me what the local bank charges
for handing out the money. They should charge something. They're not
even my bank.! )
One of the advantages of being thrifty all my life (and not having a
wife or children, and not having great economic losses) is that I'm
very far from this situation. I calculated roughtly that I have
enough money (though conceivably not enough interest or energy) to
take 11 week vacations like this every year.^^^^. (When I was working
full time, of coursse I couldnt' take vacations over 2 weeks, but I'm
70 y.o. now and in great health except overweight and back hurts
sometimes.) But even this trip is cheap by, for example, my
brother's standards. He's still working, and makes a lot more money
than I did. For me, this trip was under 1000 for the air fare, 1600
for the car, 2200 for the rented room^^^, maybe 500 for gasoline , 220
for the phone (plus 18 for 3 months of a skype number**** and an
undeteterminable amount for restaurants and grocery food to eat at
"home" (and in the car.) . So that's 5550 plus food for 11 weeks. .
^^^And there were cheaper rooms. I should have started serious
looking 6 weeks in advance. Instead it was 4.5. I wrote 4 emails to
craigslist people, 3 replied, one could handle only parts of the time
I wanted, one was never going to be there, and at 3.4 weeks I panicked
and took the one that was expensive. I should have started earlier
or sent more emails, though there were not, for example, 10 good
choices. Maybe 6 or 7, but new ones every couple days.
^^^^It's hard to calculate how much it will eat into my savings and
how much that will decrease the income on my savings. Compound
interest in reverse. And how long I will live and if I'll be very
sick for a while, need nursing care or nursing home. I guess I
should look into long-term care insurance to take some (or could it be
all?) of the uncertainty out of that expense.
**** I only mention Skype because it was a really good investment if
you have people to give the number to who might call you. But what is
interesting is that Verizon dumped its email on AOL, which I think it
owns, and it expected me to reregister and confirm my identity with a
phone number, and it only gave 10 spaces for numbers. No way online
for it to call a foreign number. But the Skype number worked fine
(for a phone call. First I tried twice to get them to text me. Later
I saw that Skype on the PC won't accept texts, but the phone is
supposed to. The phone has Skype that also rings when I get a call,
but the texts never showed up. But like I say, the phone call
AIUI, the skimming device clones the card data and records your
keystrokes so for them "Yes, Virginia, there _is_ a Santa Claus!" if
your happen to be the lucky one. Of course, on that end, the CC is no
different as being compromised, it's just the difference it consumer
protection rules and how the two physically work that is different.
I'm not trying to convince you or anybody else to do anything; only
point out what is/isn't actually the liability limit by law as opposed
to your issuer's policy which can be changed at their will so I consider
those of much less value than what is actually set in statute.
I'd expect most cards that are lost are actually mislaid by themselves,
not as the complete wallet by some distraction or other mishap during
the process of being used. If that were to occur, the two-day thing
might not be all that long altho I'll grant 60 days surely ought to not
be difficult to manage; again, though, just pointing out that the limits
established by statute are different.
I'm apparently at least a couple years ahead of you and I've not used an
ATM in my life and expect to meet my maker in that virgin state--I've
just never had desperately needed cash-in-hand...of course, in normal
business all farm transactions are on account for everything I buy so I
don't have any need for cash except for the mornings I make it to the
donut shop for coffee klatch... :)
A prime reason besides the above limits/that they are debit factors is
that I simply don't want to have to remember a PIN. When the local bank
didn't want to convert the DB to CC for the convenience, I had it
canceled and have never looked back. That was 15+ year ago...
I've not dealt with an extended overseas stay; the several times for
work were only a couple weeks at a time. That by now has been almost 20
year ago now as Dad passed the week we got back from the last and we
came back to the farm following that and I quit the consulting gig after
finishing up the last 18-months or so of backlog. Back then, you dealt
with it with traveler's checks; I suppose they're now about as common as
the dodo bird, too.
I'd have trouble with the parking lot as well as I don't have a smart
mobile device that would work with their app, 3G reception or not...
Not just the lots but the on-street parking too, on the commercial
streets and sometimes elsewhere. But I've decided that even if the
parking were free, it's easier to turn on to a side street and drive
until there's a parking place than it is to find a parking place on
one of the busy commercial streets.
There are also 3 more icons representing places to use the app but I
don't remember what they are.
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