Aug 16, 2010 6:51 PM by Matt Stafford

New debit and ATM card rules begin this week

New federal rules begin this week on debit and A.T.M. cards that may catch you off guard in the check-out line. It could be your card getting declined.

If you don't have the money in your account, banks won't be letting you overdraw -- that is unless you tell them its okay ahead of time. That's a change for shoppers

"They'll (shoppers will) be getting turned down at times they're used to being approved," explains John Webster, Chief Financial Officer for the Bank at the Broadmoor.

"They (the shoppers) do have to think about it," says card user Jennifer Montoya, "How much money is in my savings account? Can I cover this purchase?"

The new law puts those questions to the consumer, but also gives them options.

"Gives them a decision as to whether or not they want to be charged," Webster says.

They can opt in to their bank's overdraft protection program; where the bank will cover the balance if you go over -- with a $20 to $30 fee.

You can opt out of the overdraft program; where when you don't have the money; your card doesn't go through. That's a decision Webster says all card users should think about.

"Uhh, I would... Man, that's tough," Montoya says out loud, debating the decision.

The law only applies to debit card transactions and trips to the A.T.M., but if overdrafts are a concern Webster has a suggestion.

"If you don't have the funds, you don't spend it, and then avoid any kind of worries, any kind of fees," Webster says.

So when the bill comes, it's always a good idea to know what's in your account. As long as there's enough to cover, this rule won't apply; but some shoppers just like the option.

"I think it's good that people have the choice, that they can either pay the fee or be stopped," Montoya explains.

For more information on the new rules, you can visit the Federal Reserve's website by clicking here.


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