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Things Seniors Should Never Use their Debit Card For

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Having financial responsibility is extremely important for seniors and can help them to protect their hard earned money and investments. Yet, in order to make good decisions, seniors must know the best practices for making purchases, especially in regards to purchases with debit cards. To help empower our senior readers, Fairfield Home Care Assistance wanted to share a few things that seniors should use their debit card for.

  1. Gas at a Self-Pay Pump – When purchasing gas at the pump, the bank or gas station may put a hold on the bank account to cover a fill-up. For instance, a driver may end up with a $75 dollar hold (or temporary withdrawal) even when $15 of gas was actually purchased. For seniors with low balance amounts, this can cause additional overdraft fees.
  2. Hotel Reservations – Perhaps your parent or loved one is traveling for the spring holiday or simply loves to see new sights. Whatever the reason, make sure that hotel reservations are never made using a debit card. If you happen to check-in with a debit card, the hotel may put a major hold on that card, often totaling hundreds of dollars (similar to holds at the gas station). This hold may not clear for up to 10 days.
  3. Online Purchases – When making a purchase online with a debit card, the cash is immediately taken from the buyer’s bank account. As a result, if there is a problem with the purchase, your loved one will not have access to their funds while the issue is being investigated. When a credit card is used, there is also much more protection from the card provider and there are higher limits for such protection.
  4. Recurring Payments – Many caregivers and elder care experts recommend that seniors use auto pay to help manage recurring payments for things like gym memberships or magazine subscriptions. Unfortunately, these monthly payments may increase for no apparent cause or re-subscribe because a card is on file. This can leave a senior overpaying or paying for a service or product they no longer wish to have. Even worse, the deduction comes straight from their bank account as opposed to being held by a credit card and sorted out later.

If you are an adult child, share these tips with your aging parent or loved one to help protect their financial health. The first line of protection is always education!

For more information about senior care and long-term wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Fairfield. We provide live-in and hourly care Fairfield families trust, and also serve the local communities of Westport, Wilton, Weston, Easton and more. Call us today at 203-955-1915 to learn more about how our caregivers can help ensure safety and comfort for your aging parent or loved one.