My stupid credit card mistake
Confusing my credit card with my debit card at the ATM is going to cost me.
I did something very stupid: I used my credit card instead of my debit card at the ATM last week. Three different times. The stupid cards look so much alike.
So, this means that:
- Each transaction was treated as a cash advance -- charging me $15-plus in total fees just for swiping them.
- I will be charged interest on this money from the day I got it until it's completely paid off. Which means that even if I do that today (which I'm going to do), and it registers tomorrow or the next day, I'm already looking at 10 total days' worth of interest.
How to prevent this
When I tweeted/Facebooked about this, I got a couple of really good ideas on how to prevent this in the future. Maybe this will help you to not be an idiot too.
- Keep different PINs. If you have a different PIN for each card, you will catch yourself making this mistake when the ATM denies you. (And if you still don't get it, it doesn't matter since it won't give you the money anyway.) Thanks for the tip, Matt.
- Label each card with a Sharpie. If it's a "house" card, write "house" on the front of it. If it's for gas, write "gas," etc. It'll be another reminder to use the right card so you don't goof up. Big thanks to Jessica for that one. And Jen says nail polish works even better; it doesn't wipe off.
Moral of the story? Pay attention. And fix your wrongs ASAP before you cost yourself even more money down the road.
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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