Two things that are wrong with our world
I went to Subway for lunch today. They've finally cottoned onto the fact that toasted really does taste better. But that's a whole other blog entry.
The girl in front of me ordered her sub (I think she got the steak and cheese, which is about $3.99 or so) and asked to put it on her Visa. Who charges a sandwich? And why does a 16 year old have a Visa?
Incidentally, Subway doesn't take Visa, or even MasterCard. I guess they share my philosophy: if you have to buy lunch on credit, maybe you should be brown-bagging it.
Bastardizations of those annoying Visa (It's all you need) and Mastercard (Accepted everywhere you _______) commercials are welcome in the Comments section.
I don't know how things are up there in the attic, but down here in Oregon, the folks I run with don't ever carry cash. We have these fancy debit card thingies. They have Visa and Mastercard logos and take money right from your checking account. I haven't written a check in at least 6 months.
I work at a small local community bank and I reviewing an industry study, 40.5% of respondents (u.s) reported paying by debit (either pin or signature) most often vs. 15.4% that payed with cash most often.
Posted by: boothwah at December 1, 2004 02:14 PM
We've had debit (it's called Interac up here) since the early 1990s, but it doesn't go through the Visa or MasterCard companies. The bankcard you use to access your bank machine is the same card you use at a store. However, they do charge you for each transaction. You can buy a certain number of "free" transactions (an oxymoron, I know) using your monthly banking fees, but each extra transaction is $1.50. So, debiting a $4.00 sandwich is pretty ridiculous, because you end up paying $5.50.
Also, the merchant has to pay to use the service as well, so a lot of places won't let you debit any transaction less than $5 or $10.
A good rule of thumb: always carry at least $5.00 in cash. And that whole "don't buy sandwiches on credit" thing.
Posted by: Saedigh at December 1, 2004 03:55 PM
I've grinded my debit card into dust since I use it incessantly. I'm also guilty of being a Subway Charger...mainly because it costs $6 for a ham sub (exorbitant=YES). However, it was amusing to see the staff's eyes light up with joy as they proudly unveiled their new toaster with a Vanna White-esque wave of the arm. Anyway, I had to indulge them..."Toast it!" I said confidently. :-) You're right...I need to carry cash lest someone behind me gets the first diagnosed case of Subway Rage (tm) when I bust out the debit card.
Posted by: Matt at December 2, 2004 12:19 AM
We pretty much use our visa debit cards exclusively. It's the thing in the US. I rarely carry cash - usually just have enough to buy lunch in our cafeteria for a week (I wouldn't have to even do that if I would get off my butt and enable my security card key to be used as a payment method). Canada is so different and I never figured out why the whole visa debit card thing never caught on there. It's so much more flexible than just an ATM or Interac card... and we don't get charged any fees for using it or snubbed by other customers waiting in line for pulling it out and using it in a Subway - cause "everyone does it" :-) I use my debit card for $2-$3 purchases all the time.
And the other cool thing about using debit vs cash is I know exactly where the money is going - as opposed to withdrawing $60 cash and watching it whittle away to goodness knows where - I have a detailed record of exactly where I've spent every penny... which is a good thing if you're as anal about your finances as I am. I download the transactions into Money and can generate reports, etc to see where I'm spending.
Posted by: heather at December 2, 2004 02:04 PM
How is debit more convenient than Interac? They're the same thing. The money is still coming out of your chequing account (or whichever account you specify), it's just not a credit card company providing you with the service.
Are you sure that there aren't any service fees associated with your Visa Chequecard? From what I have heard on the subject, it's the same as writing a cheque....which usually has a fee associated with it.
And just because "everyone" does something, doesn't mean it's right. ;-)
I think you would agree, though, that buying a sandwich with actual credit (and not debit) is pretty freaking pathetic though, no? Especially when you are 16?
Posted by: Saedigh at December 2, 2004 04:36 PM
I am 200% positive that neither of us have any fees associated with either of our debit cards or cheque writing for that matter. The reason why it is more convenient than just an ATM card associated with a bank is because it is accepted anywhere Visa is accepted even if debit cards are not accepted... so in the absence of a debit card system, as long as they accept Visa, I can still use my debit card and it still comes direct out of my bank account. And yes - just because everyone does something, doesn't make it right - but if it is more convenient and doesn't hurt anyone or anything, why the hell not? :-)
True - buying a sandwich on credit is probably not something I would do.
Posted by: heather at December 2, 2004 06:20 PM
Well then, that's a first. A bank that charges no service fees, not even monthly ones?
Interac is accepted universally in Canada. Even at Subway.
Basically, the whole point of this rant was too fold: (1) people are irresponsible with CREDIT (not debit) and (2) 16 year olds shoudn't have Visa cards. I don't buy into the whole "it breeds financial responsibility" argument. It's not about managing finances, it's about managing debt. In Canada, a 16 year old can't be legally responsible for debt... so when the job at Timmy's can no longer pay the massing Visa bills, the creditors come knocking on mommy and daddy's door. How that teaches a teenager responsibility, I really don't know.
Posted by: Saedigh at December 3, 2004 08:44 AM
I agree with the credit responsibility thing. I wasn't aware Interac is accepted everywhere in Canada now. When I was using it in the early nineties before I moved to the US, it wasn't a universal thing - not all grocery or corner stores or movie theaters or restaurants etc. accepted it. Many places that accepted credit cards did NOT accept Interac. As soon as I moved to the US in 94 my bank issued me a debit card. I had to ask them to explain it to me and then found it really cool that absolutely everywhere accepts them.
I wouldn't give my kid a credit card. When they are an adult, they can apply for one in their own name on their own credit - and it will have nothing to do with us... and if they mismanage their finances, the credit card companies won't be knocking on our door they'll be knocking on his/hers. And if our kid then comes knocking on our door, you can bet he/she will get an earful ;-)
Posted by: heather at December 3, 2004 03:36 PM
"And the other cool thing about using debit vs cash is I know exactly where the money is going" - that is cool and very convient. For the individual that rocks, but the better part is that every one knows where your money is going. Yep the banking regs are written so that pretty much anyone can access those transactions.. Oops... gonna have to raise your health insurance since I can see what food you've been buying. Ah, your un becasue you spent money there. Convience is nice, but using a debit card, especially exclusively has a risk side as well. How do you get food when the government 'turns off' access to the financinal network to anyone it decides is "a risk". Think about it... if you support the losing side then you could find yourself very hungry with no rescourse as you've become a 'non-citizen' through the simple use of the computer network. Or better... Uh Ms H you have not spent enough this month and the economy needs stimulation so were debeting X dollars from your account for the good of the national economy... And I won't start up about taxes... Any society that gives up cash transactions entirely will ultimately forfeit its freedom. Yes folks he's paranoid, but that doesn't make him wrong... I didn't pick this administration, but I kenw it was just a matter of time... hasta luego
Posted by: BlueNiner at December 5, 2004 07:32 PM
well debit cards are mostly benign.....here in the US the customers don't pay for their use. But someone does...The dirty secrets:
Debit Card transaction are vastly cheaper than processing papaer checks and save the banks $$$$$$. We also do not have to keep as much cash on hand (also costs the bank $$$) and finally, the VISA/MC service dings the merchant a percentage of each sale (anywhere from 1.5 to 5%)
I can't wait until we perfect the forehead bar-code technology.
Posted by: boothwah at December 7, 2004 12:02 PM