Debit Cards: The Ultimate School Supply
Posted by Justin Lutes, AAP, NCP, Vice President, Correspondent Services, Catalyst Corporate FCU on 6/29/2017

Notebook? Check.
Laptop cords? Check.
Pens, paper and pencils? Check. Check. Check.
Financial security? While you can’t pick it up at the nearest store, it’s easier to find than some may think. Is your credit union getting the word out?

Before sending students off to school this fall, credit unions have the opportunity to attract parents and students alike by promoting the value of a debit card.

After all, a debit card is not just a way to get cash out of an ATM. There are numerous benefits to using a debit card as a primary method of payment.

Everyone’s doing it. And it’s easy to see why. With the exception of cash, debit cards are the most used form of payment in the U.S. After all, they’re portable and accepted nearly everywhere. According to the 2016 Federal Reserve Payments Study, debit card payments grew to 69.5 billion in 2015 with a value of $2.56 trillion, which is an increase of 13.0 billion and $0.46 trillion since 2012. This was the largest increase in number of payments among the payment types surveyed, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all card payments.

On again. Off again. Members can never be too safe when protecting finances. With features such as Catalyst Corporate’s CardNav, cardholders can turn cards on and off and set geographic boundaries to limit where cards are used. CardNav also allows users to set alerts to notify them of unusual card activity, giving them a chance to respond immediately to card-use situations as they occur.

No credit? No problem. Debit card users don’t need perfect credit (or any credit, for that matter), to use a debit card. This is perfect for an older teen or young adult in the early stages of responsible financial management. Debit cards provide a convenient way for students to withdraw cash and make purchases, without taking on debt associated with credit cards. Managing a debit card account responsibly – spending only available funds – is an ideal practice ground before transitioning to "buy now, pay later" with a credit card account.  With debit cards, once a transaction is complete, there’s nothing else to worry about – no monthly payments or interest added to an outstanding balance.

Urge members to explore the ways debit cards can give students spending security and parents and guardians peace of mind.

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