Whether you’re fresh out of high school and new to banking or you have had a debit card in your wallet for the last 15 years, some of the finer points of this type of card aren’t readily apparent until you encounter a problem. Here are three little-advertised facets of debit cards of which you may be unaware.



Encountering a Debit Card Hold

If you don’t own a car, you may have never experienced having a hold placed on your debit card. Imagine your surprise when, seemingly out of the blue, you go to a sit-down restaurant with family or rent a moving truck and then discover a large hold has been placed on your account. Some eateries will place a hold to include the gratuity, and truck rental businesses place a hold in order to cover any damage you do to their vehicle. The held amount will be released eventually, usually within a few days to a week, once your dinner bill is paid or you’ve returned the truck. You will only be charged for the agreed-upon amount. If the hold disappears and the charged amount on your statement is incorrect, contact the vendor to inquire about the discrepancy. If they cannot or will not assist you, contact your bank to file a dispute.


Experiencing a Delay of Charges

Most vendors and service providers turn in their charges to your bank immediately. After all, they want to be paid in a timely manner. When you swipe your debit card for anything, from buying a sandwich to making payments to your bank loans at a branch, the vast majority of these charges will be deducted from your balance within minutes. However, this is not always the case. Some businesses will wait until the end of the night to reconcile their charge slips, while some tiny places may wait until they proprietor goes to the bank at the end of the week! So, if you stop into that microscopic little shop for some bagels and the charge takes four days to be deducted, this is the cause. There is nothing your bank can do about this, so keep careful records to avoid an overdraft fee.



Your Debit Card is Declined While Traveling

The security team at your bank is watching you. They know all about your spending habits and general whereabouts. If you live in Pittsburgh and travel back and forth to see your mom in Philadelphia every few months, they know about it and your card will likely work just fine. Take a trip to San Francisco without letting them know, on the other hand, and the security system may assume that your card information has been stolen and your card will be declined. This is especially likely if you bought your tickets on a credit card, because your bank has no clue that you are traveling until that first bizarre swipe thousands of miles from home. Save yourself a small hassle and a lot of embarrassment and give your bank a heads-up call before going on a jaunt.

Debit cards are a great banking tool. They are safer and cheaper than writing out checks and work much like a credit card without any interest fees. Knowing exactly how your debit card works in specific situations can help you use it to your best advantage and avoid frustration and embarrassment.

Find out more about Debit Mastercard by UOB Malaysia.