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 May 14, 2005
Debit Cards: The Next Generation
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 We're talking about debit cards. They're the hottest way to pay. So banks and credit card companies are rushing to compete for your business with all kinds of new debit rewards programs. But do the perks come with a price?

He hands it over at the dry cleaner

Bill Maher, Debit Card User

"thank you"

In the checkout line at the grocery store, and at his favorite restaurant.


"Come back soon!"

Bill Maher likes paying with plastic, but prefers his debit card over his credit card.


"I use it pretty much everywhere."

 Apparently so do millions of other people in fact it's estimated that Americans will be swiping an astounding 780 billion dollars directly out of their checking accounts and now card companies want a piece of the action.

Lanny Byers, MasterCard

"Almost anything your imagination can offer is available."

 Mastercard's Lanny Byers says it's great news because consumers will finally earn rewards for purchases they wouldn't necessarily put on credit cards.


"If you think about it, consumers generally spend between three and five thousand annually just on supermarkets, right? You could turn that spending into a reward. So your everyday spending becomes something valuable to you."

 Bill swiped his card enough to take his wife on a romantic vacation.


"I was able to save up to 60,000 miles and then the two of us flew to st. Croix for free, basically the tickets were free."

But before you delve into debit, these new cards may come at a price. Annual fees can be quite common especially on rewards based programs. 

Rob Drozdowski, America's Community Bankers

 "People do need to shop around like anything else, they need to look at the fees that are associated with the card. They need to look at the options."

 You can earn more than just airline miles with these new debit cards, you can also earn gift certificates, merchandise, free cruises, free travel and rental cars. If you have a problem you need help solving, contact our call for action center Monday thru Thursday from 11 until 1, 228-1852.

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