Dangerous And Inconsistent

Sarah and her husband have one credit card, and it’s in her name. She wants to close it, but her husband doesn’t. How can she talk him into agreeing to close it?

QUESTION: Sarah in Canada and her husband have one credit card, and it’s in her name. She wants to close it, but her husband doesn’t. He says he wants to keep it for convenience. How can she talk him into agreeing to close it? Dave tells Sarah using a debit card will do the same things a credit card will.

ANSWER: So he’s crummy with it and wants to keep one in your name. That sounds dumb. The guy who doesn’t pay the bills well and isn’t responsible is the one who wants to keep it open in somebody else’s name. Sounds dangerous to me. It just seems inconsistent. What’s wrong with a debit card?

When you put your debit card number in as a credit card, it takes it. The debit card has two possible ways you use it. Way number one is you put in your PIN like an ATM card. A lot of places don’t have that. I don’t use mine that way for two reasons: I don’t know what my PIN is, and it takes longer to go through all of that when you’re checking out or buying something online. I use my VISA debit card just like a credit card. When it asks for a credit card number, it will ask for your number and expiration date and three-digit code on the back. If you have a VISA debit card, it will do everything a VISA credit card will do except get you in debt, and you can’t spend money except that you have because it is coming out of your checking account when you use it.

You’re going to have to be on a balanced budget and live on a plan because if he goes out there and runs this debit card up like crazy, your house payment is going to bounce. You don’t have that option. But if he’s paying it off every month, then it would be possible—mathematically—to do a budget that you guys could stick to that wouldn’t cause you any problems at all. If you’re running up credit card debt, the debit card won’t work for you.

You shouldn’t have any fees on a debit card at all unless your bank charges you some kind of fee. But most banks don’t. I don’t have a fee on mine.

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