8 secrets about your debit card

Your card likes routine
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Paying with a debit card

Your debit card might not work if you deviate from your normal patterns.

That's because institutions will often cut off a card if they notice atypical usage. So if you usually shop in New York and you're suddenly springing for cappuccinos in Seattle, your issuer might refuse the transaction.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this one. With some institutions you can let the bank or credit union know you plan to use the card on the road and they will put a "travel alert" on your account, says Michelle Dosher, managing editor for consumer publications for the Credit Union National Association.

But that may not always work with every institution, says Feddis. It's often "easier to call the bank or send them an email if you've been turned down," she says. And just in case, it's always good to have a backup.




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