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Common Cents departments
Mar/Apr 2013 Issue

Credit v. debit:
It's your choice

Credit or debit? It's a simple enough question and one that you probably hear every day. But how you answer can have an impact on your personal finances.

When you use your debit card, you withdraw money directly from your checking or savings account to cover the purchase.

When you use a credit card, however, you're accessing a line of credit from the bank or organization that issued your card. Each purchase is essentially a loan that you repay later.

Still, the differences between credit and debit cards entail more than simply where the money comes from.

With a debit card, you need to be diligent about keeping track of everything you purchase to avoid accidental overdrafts.

Lawmakers put debit cards and credit cards into different categories, so consumer protection differs between the two types of cards. The law is on your side when it comes to credit card purchases. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have zero liability for poor-quality or damaged merchandise.

When traveling, hotels, car rental agencies, and other businesses often put temporary holds on debit card transactions as a type of security deposit. And remember that debit card transactions are not reported to credit agencies, so you're not building a credit history when you use a debit card.

For more information about the AAA Member Rewards Visa® credit card, visit your local AAA branch office or click on



Clean up and save on your home projects

It's a given that spring is the time when you have to shake off the dust that built up in and around your home over fall and winter. It can be a big job, but a few tips from cleaning pros might inspire you and help you finish the work so you can get outside and enjoy springtime activities.

Schedule a day to devote solely to clean.

Don't quit until the job is done. Avoid distractions-like the television-but play upbeat music to help keep you moving.

Protect your eyes when using chemicals, and supportive shoes can do wonders to save your back.


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