When I got to college, my parents and I debated between giving me a credit card or a debit card. With my propensity for shopping and dining out, my parents had enough foresight to realize I’d be $20 million in debt by the end of the first semester with a credit card at my fingertips. Debit card it was. But that didn’t come without its own share of problems.
Before I discovered the wonders of online banking, I was always petrified to use my debit card when I feared my funds were nearing depletion. The curse of the overdraft fee haunted my nightmares. There’s nothing worse than overspending by 30 cents and being charged $30 for your mistake. Then being charged another $30 for the automatic withdrawal from the bank to cover the overdraft.
WTF? How do they expect you to pay off the charge of overdrawing when having no money was the very thing that put you in this place to begin with?
But all of this may be coming to end. And hopefully, on my tight budget, it will be sooner rather than later. There is proposed legislation on the table that will force banks to ask the customer whether or not they would like the “protection” of the overdraft program instead of automatically enrolling debit card users in this plan. (Basically, we will have the option of being able to withdraw more money than we have in the account [with a fee] or only use what we got [without a fee].)
I love how they think the overdraft fees they impose on me are protecting me. Protecting me from what? The humiliation of getting my card rejected when I’m trying to purchase a box of tampons? Well, they’re right. I would be embarrassed. But that’s why I always go through the self-check out aisle when I’m buying feminine products. But in all honesty, I’d rather be turned down and tampon-less than $30 in the hole. Not even the Tampax Pearl is worth that much.
So, fingers crossed on this one. Assuming all goes well with this bill, you can now purchase that 30-pack of beer/late night take-out/economy size bottle of Midol without fear…and use that extra $30 you saved from those overdrafts for something more important.
Like the perfect fall dress.