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Teaching teens how to use a debit card

Debit card teenager
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Did you know? A new debit card is issued every 5 seconds in the United States.

2. Benefits of a debit card

You can take advantage of a number of benefits with your Synovus debit card:

  • Make purchases: One of the main reasons to carry a debit card is so you can spend the money in your checking account without having to pull out cash or write checks. Use your debit card anywhere credit cards are accepted, including in stores and online. You can also use it to set up online bill pay so that recurring expenses (like Netflix) are automatically deducted from your checking account.
  • Keep tabs on your account activity: Unfortunately, potential fraud is a common worry when managing our finances these days. But don't let fear stop you. Synovus lets debit card holders set up real-time alerts for when certain transactions happen, such as transactions over a certain dollar amount. With these alerts, you can catch fraud early if your debit card information ends up in the wrong hands — or you can simply keep an eye on your spending.
  • Take advantage of a digital wallet: If you want the convenience of never having to carry a physical wallet and the added security of your smartphone's technology, consider setting up a digital wallet. Link your debit card to a digital wallet and pay for purchases using your phone wherever digital payments are accepted.
  • Get cash: If you do need cash, you can use your debit card at the ATM to easily withdraw money from your checking account. Or you can ask for cash back when you pay by debit card at certain stores, like grocery stores or pharmacies.

3. Using your debit card wisely

Although debit cards are convenient, there are also some pitfalls to watch out for. Here's what you can do to ensure you manage your debit card wisely:

  • Don't overdraw your account: Doing so will put your checking account in the red! Plus, overdraft fees typically cost between $35 to $40 per overdraft transaction (varies by bank).
  • Keep an eye on pending transactions: Not all debit transactions post right away. The burden is on you to make sure you have enough money to cover all your transactions once all of the pending ones — plus any outstanding paper checks and recurring withdrawals — go through. You can log into your online banking account and check for transactions listed as "pending" to get an idea of what's coming up. However, not every pending transaction will show up, so it's a good idea to keep a buffer of cash in your account if possible and wait a few days between major purchases.
  • Protect your card info: Keep your credit card information out of fraudster's hands by practicing good card safety. For instance, only use ATMs that are in safe, well-lit locations to prevent card skimming. Make sure any online store where you're making a purchase directs you to a secure network (the URL should read "https:" instead of "http:") before you enter your payment information. And never give out your card information over the phone unless you initiated the call and you're speaking with a trusted bank or merchant.

A debit card is a great financial tool, but it's also a big financial responsibility. You can help your child learn to use theirs the right way by educating them early.

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Important Disclosure Information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Tamara E. Holmes, “Debit card statistics," NASDAQ, accessed August 2, 2018. Back