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Debit or credit? Choose wisely

Staff Writer

Debit cards and credit cards each have their time and place.

Shawn Vondenkamp, retail office supervisor at Central National Bank, Marion, said one advantage to a debit card is that there is no fee for cash withdrawn from the local bank’s ATM.

“If you use your credit card, there are fees for that,” Vondenkamp said.

The risk of card fraud is about the same whether the card is debit or credit, Vondenkamp said.

“Hopefully these new chip cards they have now will cut down on fraud,” Vondenkamp said. “Supposedly there’s something in that chip that cannot be counterfeited.”

Don Noller, executive vice president and cashier at Marion National Bank, concurs.

Thieves use credit theft in two main ways, Noller said. One is to use the card number to make purchases. The other is to steal information to make a new card.

With the chip on the card, thieves won’t be able to make counterfeit cards, Noller said.

“Europe’s been using these cards for a lot of years and their fraud is down considerably,” Noller said.

Noller said which card to use is often a matter of personal preference.

“I’ve talked to quite a few people who use their credit card because they get points, and then write one check, once a month,” Noller said.

Vondenkamp said there are circumstances in which a credit card is preferable. Some companies offer purchase protection.

Some offer perks such as rental car insurance.

Gas stations and hotels frequently put temporary holds on the card’s balance. That can create a problem if it’s a debit card.

“That can be frustrating when you’re traveling and have a limited budget,” Vondenkamp said. “Then even if you stay only one night, that can stay on your account for up to three days.”

“Those kind of holds are strictly up to the merchants,” Noller said. “I’ve seen them as little as $50 and up to $100.”

Such holds can hit the daily spending limit on a debit card, Noller said.

“Sometimes a credit card will afford you more purchase power in a single day,” Noller said.

Last modified Feb. 3, 2016

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