Since we have the Credit Card topic on here, I was thinking about a
situation I had awhile back.
When I began getting my Social Security, I learned that they no longer
send checks. The money MUST be sent directly to a bank. Although I
already had a checking account, I wanted to go with a different bank,
which had more benefits for seniors.
I opened an account at the other bank, and I was given a debit card
along with my checking. At first I thought it would come in handy, and
save on checks, but I quickly found it made balancing my checkbook very
confusing, so I stopped using it except for emergencies (like to buy gas
when I did not have any cash or my checkbook with me). One day I went to
get gas, and they could not read that card. They even showed me that the
magnetic strip was worn off part of the card. Luckily the gas station
was local and they know me, so they just told me to come back later to
Anyhow, I took that defective debit card to my bank and told them it was
worn out. The clerk said they would get me a new card, and it would be
mailed to me in about a week. But she said that the new card needs to be
programmed with my PIN number, so I had to give her my PIN. I felt very
uncomfortable with this, and as nicely as I could, I told her so. After
all, even though she works for the bank, does not mean she could not
tamper with my account.
She said that if I dont want to give it out, she could not process this
new card, but I can give her another PIN number, which will then be my
"NEW" PIN, but I can change it as soon as I receive the card. So, I made
up a new PIN and gave her that number, and wrote it down so I would
When the new card came, it had a label telling me to call an 800 number
or take it to an ATM to verify (or whatever word they used), that card.
I took it to the ATM at my own bank, inserted the card, and punched in
my ORIGINAL PIN. The card worked fine.
I now wonder why I even provided that "other" PIN. It was not needed. In
a way, I was glad, because I had no clue how to go about changing the
PIN. While I want to be able to trust the employees at my bank, I really
dont trust anyone. I now question this even more, since there seemed to
be no need for giving that clerk my PIN.
I became so concerned about this, that I was going to try to learn how
to change the PIN, but that was when I found out that I did not even
need to have a debit card to get my Social Security put into my account,
and a basic checking account is all I need. So, I took that card back to
the bank, cut it in half, and told them to cancel it, but not cancel the
checking, just cancel the debit card.
I have since found a better way to deal with emergencies. I just keep a
few blank checks hidden in my vehicle. That way if I dont have cash, and
forget my checkbook, I still have those checks.
I guess this bank just automatically gives everyone a debit card when
they open a checking account, and I could have declined it right away,
had I known. I dont want any credit or debit cards, and now that my
blank checks will be free, I wont have to worry about using too many