Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The CARD Act and Debit Cards

The CARD Act that went into effective on February 22, 2010 has resulted hundreds of changes to credit cards but did you know that the CARD also affects debit cards? Well here are some changes about debit cards you should know about. These new changes implemented by the Federal Reserve go into effect on July 1, 2010. Your bank should be sending you very soon an explanation of their new overdraft services including fees and changes.

Currently, for standard overdraft services your bank will cover the transaction by charging a flat fee of $20-$30 each time you overdraw your account (bounce a check or use your debit card).

If you have an overdraft protection account or service your bank provides a line of credit that is linked to your savings account to cover transactions when you overdraw your account. Banks charge a fee each time you overdraw your account but using the overdraft protection service may be less expensive than using the standard overdraft service.

Under the CARD act, your bank can no longer charge overdraft fees. Your bank must get permission to apply the standard overdraft services to debit and ATM card transactions. You can grant permission by opting in to the overdraft notice your bank sends you.

For existing accounts if you do not opt-in by August 15, 2010, your bank's standard overdraft services won't apply to your debit and ATM transactions and future transactions will be declined when you don't have enough money in your account, and you will not be charged an overdraft fee.

For new accounts opened on or after July 1, 2010, your bank can no longer charge overdraft fees for debit and ATM transactions unless you opt-in. If you open a new account before July 1, 2010 your bank will consider you an existing customer and you will receive a notice about your bank's overdraft services.

Determine if you want the standard overdraft services for debit and ATM transactions. If you decide to opt-in you can cancel at any time. If you do not opt-in before the deadline you can opt-in in the future.

The new overdraft guidelines do not affect checks or automatic bill payments. Your bank may automatically enroll you in their standard overdraft services plan for these transactions. Contact your bank if you decide to cancel the standard overdraft service to verify what options are available.

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