ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day
80°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 82° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    80°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 82° L 77°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    89°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 82° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 90° L 78°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Consumer Advice
7 places you should never use your debit card
Close

7 places you should never use your debit card

7 places you should never use your debit card

7 places you should never use your debit card

Clark Howard is a nationally syndicated consumer advice expert

Debit cards are a popular alternative to credit cards because they only allow you to spend what you have in your checking account. But they are rife with other dangers for your wallet.

Long called "piece of trash fake Visas and fake MasterCards" by Clark, debit cards are overwhelmingly inferior to credit cards for several reasons.

Here's why you might want to kick that debit card out of your life

First, hotels, gas stations, and rental car companies will put a hold on your checking account if you use a debit card. If you have other checks floating around that someone tries to cash, that could throw you over into insufficient funds land and result in heavy fees. Plus, the company that runs your debit card may even do a hard inquiry on your credit without you knowing, which will lower your credit score! 

Second, you have fewer consumer protections with debit cards. For example, let's say you notice fraudulent activity on your credit card. You have 60 days to report it and dispute the charge with your credit card company. But if you used a debit card, you have only 2 days to report it!

Several months ago, Clark published an article that listed 4 places you should never use a debit card. It was a wildly popular story on ClarkHoward.com, and we wanted to follow up with more places for your consideration:

Pay at the pump
 

Skimmers aren't the only danger to your wallet. The gas station will put a big hold on your account, typically for 4 days, that could cause your checks to bounce. If you must pay with debit at gas station, go inside and pay at the cashier.

When you're buying online

Credit card is a much better option. If you don't get your merchandise, you can do a chargeback during a 60-day window.

At the supermarket

 A couple of years ago, Save Mart supermarkets were hit by criminal rings that put skimmers on the credit/debit card readers at self-check lanes in 20 Save Mart and Lucky branded locations throughout California. Very often, this particular kind of scam will be perpetrated by a crook dressed in the counterfeit uniform of the technology company that does regular routine maintenance on credit/debit card readers at a business!

At the car rental counter


Pamela Yip of The Dallas Morning News found that it's standard practice (and completely legal) in the industry for car rental companies to do a hard inquiry on your credit report, often without your knowledge or consent. They're trying to protect themselves against auto thieves that love to use debit cards as a low-risk method to get rentals that they can steal. But that inquiry can drastically lower your credit score in the process. The simple solution is to use a real credit card instead.

When booking advanced travel


If you have concerns about the solvency of a company you're buying future travel from, you're better off using a credit card. This holds true particularly during an economic downturn when leisure travel businesses like cruises and some airlines can go bust. Paying with credit card ensures you can do a chargeback if you don't get the travel you paid for.

While we're at it, have you considered trip insurance if you're taking a cruise, a tour, or traveling on a trip that requires pre-payment of thousands of dollars? 

When buying furniture and major appliances


If you are ordering furniture or appliances and waiting on delivery, pay only by credit card. You reduce your risk if the store goes bust by doing that, which we saw a lot of during the housing slump when furniture and appliance retailers really took it on the chin. If you do not have your delivery within 50 days, put the credit card charge in dispute. You lose all right to any dispute after the 60th day. 

When setting up automatic drafts


Auto drafts are a favorite way of utility companies, cable companies, health clubs, burglar alarm companies, and even mortgage lenders to get their money from you each month. But that business may continue to make monthly automated clearing house (ACH) debits from your account once your contract with them ends. That is illegal and you can get it to stop byciting what's called "Regulation E" and using Clark's sample letter to stop automatic payments

But why open that can of worms to begin with? 

The only safe way to handle a debit card is...

If you wish to continue using a debit card in the future, be sure you tie it into a separate account that's only used for debit transactions so only that money is at risk. You want your account that has the money you pay your mortgage, your car payment, your student loans, etc. cordoned off so it can't be compromised.

For further reading:

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • One person is dead after a train crashed into a truck on Thursday night in Green Cove Springs. The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident involved an Amtrak train and a truck. The truck had two people inside when it was hit by the train. The train was heading from Orlando to New York and there were passengers on board. None of those passengers were hurt.   FHP said the train was stuck for about an hour. Officials say the crossing rails were working. “As far as I know, they were, they have been, working the entire time we have been out here and the train did just go through a few minutes ago, and they were working at that time,” said Lt. Tina Hall with FHP.  Hearing reports of train vs. car accident. Heading to scene now. @ActionNewsJax — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Scene Video: Train vs. car. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/i5MID2YR2R — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Police have this part of the road blocked off. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/qR8V4GmrpZ — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 CSX officials just arrived to train vs. car accident. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/dW3yt1uBmf — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Neighbors tell me this is a quiet road. Not a lot of cars travel down this road. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/AzlxG4qe2s — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a man's body was found in the St. Johns River near the Hart Bridge. Police responded Thursday night to the 4500 block of Richard Denby Gatlin Road, near the Arlington Lions Club Park. Police said it appears that the man's body has been in the river for a few days. At this time, foul play is not suspected in the man's death. The man, who appears to be in his 30s to 50s, does not match any missing person descriptions. This is a developing story. Refresh this page, follow @ActionNewsJax on Twitter and watch FOX30 Action News Jax at 10 for updates.
  • While their larger investigation of the El Faro sinking is still ongoing, the NTSB has issued ten new recommendations as a result of their work so far, to encourage immediate action on mariner safety “We are getting these recommendations out as the hurricane season begins so that the work on these safety improvements can start immediately,” says a statement from NTSB Acting Chairman Robert L Sumwalt.  The goal of the recommendations is to improve the accuracy of hurricane and tropical cyclone forecasts and to make them more accessible at sea. FULL COVERAGE:The sinking of El Faro Two of the recommendations have been issued to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, seven to the National Weather Service, and one to the US Coast Guard, with the NTSB urging the organizations to adopt them.  The NTSB acknowledges that, generally, safety recommendations are issued at the end of an investigation, but can be put out at any time. NTSB INVESTIGATION: Details from the NTSB’s Investigative Reports The Board has been investigating the sinking of El Faro since late 2015, which included participating in three Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation public hearing sessions as well as producing the longest transcript of a Voyage Data Recorder- or “black box”- that the NTSB has ever completed.  33 people died when the cargo ship out of Jacksonville sank in Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015. During his final shoreside communication, El Faro’s Captain reported the ship had lost propulsion and taken on water, resulting in a fifteen degree list. AUDIO: El Faro’s Captain reports “marine emergency” The VDR transcript- which included conversations from the bridge- showed the engineers were struggling to get things running again and containers were coming loose. FULL DETAILS: El Faro’s VDR captures final moments ahead of El Faro’s sinking The investigation so far has raised questions about how the cargo was secured and the condition of the ship in the area that water came on board. We’ve also learned the vessel had some outdated weather information in the hours ahead of the sinking, didn’t receive all communications, and that the forecasting errors on Hurricane Joaquin itself were more significant than normal.   The end of the VDR did capture the Captain calling to abandon ship, but none of the crew were ever recovered.  GALLERY: Tributes to the El Faro crew The NTSB expects to complete their investigation of the sinking later this year, which will include a finding of probable cause and contributing factors to the sinking. The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation will also issue its own separate report.  Recommendations to NOAA The NTSB Safety Recommendation Report discusses the challenges in forecasting Hurricane Joaquin, with the National Hurricane Center reporting it as one of the most challenging storms for forecast track. Part of the problem, according to testimony during the MBI, was the shear environment- which was moderate. One of the recommendations is to develop and implement a plan to improve forecasting track and intensity in such a moderate-shear environment. The NTSB report says there was a NOAA program which included this goal, but they have recently moved away from this type of research. A second recommendation is to develop and implement technology to help National Weather Service forecasters quickly sort through data and forecast models to try to detect clusters of information that could help determine the best guidance. “NHC staff told the NTSB that this capability could have made a difference in the forecasting for Joaquin,” the NTSB report says. Recommendations to NWS One of the weather systems mariners use to get weather information is called Inmarsat-C SafetyNET (SAT-C), which is a text broadcast of NHC weather products that goes to the ship’s bridge. During a tropical cyclone, an advisory is issued through this system four times a day. An Intermediate Public Advisory is also issued every three hours by the NHC once watches and warnings for tropical storms or hurricanes are issued, but these intermediate advisories are not available through SAT-C. The first NTSB recommendation in this area involves developing and implementing a plan to make the intermediate advisories available through this system. The report says there was an Intermediate Advisory issued on Joaquin just a few minutes after the crew communicated with the Captain about their course in the hours ahead of the sinking, but El Faro did not get that advisory through that system, because it’s not required. “The advisory would have identified to the crew that El Faro’s current course was taking them almost directly toward the center of the southwest-moving hurricane,” the report says. Another recommendation would require the Intermediate Advisory be issued even if the tropical storm or hurricane is not a threat to land- which is the focus under the current advisory construct. This would give new information to mariners in the open water. Some of the recommendations deal with trying to prevent any potential for confusion dealing with the timing of the advisory. The NTSB is calling on the NWS to take steps to make more clear when subsequent advisories will be issued. Additionally, the NTSB recommends defining a “significant change” in a storm for both track and intensity, to better streamline when new “Special Advisory packages” will be issued for a storm. Those Special Advisories are issued now if there is a watch or warning issued between regular advisories, or if there is an “unexpected significant change” in the storm- which is currently defined by informal protocol. “Despite Joaquin’s repeated tendency during the days before El Faro sank to move south of its short-term forecast track, as well as two periods of stronger-than-expected short-term intensification, the only Special Advisory package for Joaquin was issued at 1200 EDT on October 3, 2015. That was 2 days after the sinking, when the NHC adjusted Joaquin’s initial and forecast intensity,” the NTSB report says. Another system a ship can use to get weather information is called FTPmail. Users can send a request and receive large data packets of real-time NWS text and graphics through standard email, but the system is not automated. One recommendation is to allow users to scheduling recurring deliveries, and another is to include more graphics products. The final recommendation for NWS is to develop a plan for soliciting feedback from mariners about the accuracy, timeliness, and usability of the weather products. The NTSB says there hasn’t been any such solicitation since 2007. Recommendation to the Coast Guard While the NTSB sees the Coast Guard as a partner in the implementation of some of the above recommendations, the only direct recommendation to USCG deals with their broadcast of NWS data. This broadcast goes out through various outlets. The NTSB wants to see the Coast Guard and NWS more closely collaborating on what information is being distributed through this means, to include Intermediate Advisories, Tropical Cyclone Forecasts, and more. The NTSB acknowledged this may not be easy to achieve, because of the constraints around the allocation of the broadcast window, but says it could be an important way for mariners to get timely and comprehensive information.
  • The transcript for the Voyage Date Recorder that was aboard El Faro was already the longest the NTSB had ever assembled, and now it had grown even more. The NTSB says, since the initial release of the VDR- or black box- transcript in December 2016, investigators continued to gather facts and analyze information. They then held additional listening sessions, and that has now resulted in the release of four additional transcript sections. VOYAGE DATA RECORDER: Details from the transcript of the crew’s final hours The new releases are brief, totaling less than three of the more than five hundred pages of the transcript overall. Despite that, they appear to speak directly to some of the areas investigators have been probing.  El Faro sank in Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, killing all 33 people on board. The ship was heavily loaded while transiting from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. It had taken on water, had a substantial list, and lost propulsion ahead of the Captain’s final shoreside communication and, ultimately, the sinking. FULL COVERAGE: The sinking of El Faro The first insertion is a conversation between the Third Mate and Third Helmsman on El Faro at 11:43AM on September 30th, the day before El Faro sank. Leading up to this new addition the two spoke about a few things, including that a dentist had prescribed the Third Mate a narcotic- although it’s unclear whether that was a current prescription or in the past. They spoke about drug testing and the potential to look “pretty happy”. The conversation then turned to Hurricane Joaquin, with some shock at the wind gusts the storm was producing, but belief they wouldn’t feel those peak conditions. Then comes the new addition, where the Third Mate comments that the Port Engineer has one ship and questions what that position pays. The Third Mate further says he has no idea if the Port Engineer was a Chief Engineer prior or was even licensed. “he really doesn’t seem to do anything or know anything.” says the Third Mate, according to the transcript. The Third Helmsman then questions how many people “look important”, but don’t know what to do, and the Third Mate responded with a comment about salaries that wasn’t completely transcribed. This exchange could speak to a few areas that investigators have been examining, including the competency, responsibility, and workload of some shoreside employees. There has also been an examination of crew morale, and questioning the abilities and salaries of someone in the corporate structure could speak to that. GALLERY: Tributes to the El Faro crew About 15 minutes later in the day- right around noon- is another new insertion, this time in a conversation between the Second Mate and the Second Helmsman. This portion directly preceeded the Second Mate saying El Faro needed to get where they were going “in one piece”. “who cares what time we get there as long as we get there.” The transcript says. The newly transcribed portion shows the two apparently looking at one of the readouts that mapped the ship and time. They appear to be tracking the ship’s location at different times over the coming hours. There are various things talked about over the next two hours or so, but the third new transcript insertion comes around 1:40PM when concern was clearly building. “think this just got worse.” the Second Mate said, according to the transcript. The conversation immediately before and after those comments was not transcribed, so it’s unclear what specifically the Second Mate was speaking about, but the context indicates she is referring to Hurricane Joaquin or the ship’s track compared to the storm.  In the lead up to the new insertion, the Second Mate had been talking to the Captain about the storm and the potential to take an alternate route on the return journey. After the new portion, the Second Mate makes comments about the weather getting better when the ship moves past the storm. The errors in the storm forecasting and problems with one of the ship’s on board weather systems have been frequently scrutinized throughout the investigation. There have additionally been questions about whether the Captain was truly empowered to change the ship’s route as he saw fit, or if he needed approval from officials on shore. GALLERY: El Faro’s wreckage The final insertion was the morning of the sinking, around 5:45AM. “we got cars loose. yeah.” The Captain said, according to the transcript. The Captain made this remark soon after telling the Chief Mate to head down to check out flooding in a hold, which they believed to be the result of a blown scuttle. The transcript previously showed that cars had at least been bobbing in the water, and that there were some other cargo problems including some broken cords to refrigerated containers, leaning containers, and likely containers in the water. Investigators have already raised significant questions about the lashing protocols, the calculations that were and were not being used in stacking, and the training cargo loading crews were given specific to the cargo protocols on each ship. NTSB INVESTIGATION: Factual reports examine aspects of ship operations and sinking The NTSB has already released several “Factual Reports” as part of their ongoing investigation. More are expected to be issued in the coming days and weeks, ahead of the release of their full report later this year. The NTSB did issue ten recommendations dealing with mariner safety in June, despite the fact that their investigation was still ongoing. In presenting the recommendations, the NTSB noted they could have an impact specifically in the hurricane season, so they did not want to wait. EDITOR’S NOTE: The quotes in this story come directly from the VDR transcript. We have inserted the quotes as they appear in the transcript, including in regard to capitalization.
  • A Cleveland father is upset after he says his son was left on the school bus for hours on his first day of classes. WJW reported that Trevelle Hargrove’s 6-year-old son, Trevelle Jr.,  has special needs. Hargrove said his son fell asleep on the bus. >> Read more trending news Trevelle Jr.  said he was found after he honked the horn of the bus and jumped up and down. A spokesperson for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District said Trevelle Jr. fell asleep on the bus Monday and was there for less than an hour. His father says otherwise. “After an hour and they couldn't tell me what was going on I started to get extremely worried,” Hargrove told WJW. 'I couldn't understand why no one could tell me where my son was.” Hargrove said his son was back four hours later, at 6:30 p.m. “You can’t just forget to do things,” he said. “This isn’t like a normal job where you forget to put the straw in the bag or you forget to clock in or whatever it is you do at a normal job. You can’t do that when it comes to kids.” Hargrove said his son won’t be riding the bus again any time soon. The district is is investigating. Cleveland Metropolitan Schools Chief Communications Officer Roseann Canfora issued the following statement to WJW: “Drivers are trained to follow strict protocols for inspecting every seat at the beginning and end of their routes, and CMSD has a zero tolerance for any violation of these safety guidelines.” The bus driver has resigned. WJW reported they may be terminated pending the outcome of the district’s investigation.

The Latest News Videos