Credit card swipe fees coming - Why Clark Is Prepared To Break His ‘No Debit Cards’ Rule

This is a pretty dismal scenario for rewards credit card users. Have any of you seen such fees being assessed? If so, for which of your merchants, which of your cards?

Why Clark Is Prepared To Break His ‘No Debit Cards’ Rule

It looks like the best practice is to make a small separated checking account with the debit card attached, with a small amount of money in it, and lock the card when not in use. What a gigantic PITA!

This may spark interest in no-fee but also no-rewards credit cards. I can get them from my credit union or online bank. If I buy something for $20 and they hit you with a $1 fee, that’s a 5% fee, which negates even the richest rewards card, so you come out ahead by fee-avoidance rather than rewards-seeking.

“Win by not losing” I suppose.


I have been doing the separated checking account for some time as what I have seen referred to as a firewall account. I use that account to load to a cash app or paypal debit card. That way these other services have no direct connection to my primary bank accounts and I don’t even carry the debit card for the firewall account around with me

Thus far I haven’t seen fees being assessed on the rewards cards yet

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So you have TWO layers of insulation… the separated bank account, and then the PayPal debit card. If the PayPal card has to be loaded with a manual push, why do you find it necessary to even use a separated bank account? It’s not like debit card fraud could pull from your bank, right? Am I missing something?

We’ll use cash as an alternative if we start seeing swipe fees. Probably will force us to budget our discretionary purchases more too. Maybe a good thing in the long run? I don’t weep for any of the credit card companies. My goal is to minimize what I pay for things, and this has posited a new challenge.

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Paypal, cash app, venmo, etc cards are loaded with a pull initiated from their apps, not a push from the bank. That’s why you separate those from your primary account with a firewall account you normally keep low to empty cash wise. The apps have the account and routing info. The cards alone, however, can’t initiate the pull. If you lose the cards, shut them off from the app/website and ask for a new one. The bank debit card, however, is a direct line to the firewall account so any funds left in there are at risk if you lose that card until you cut that card off. I only carry one of those peer to peer app cards, a credit card, and a very small amount of cash at any given time. The peer to peer cards only get loaded with cash as needed. Usually, they are next to empty. The phone is unlocked by fingerprint or a very long pin and the lock timeout is short.

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There have always been credit card fees just for using credit cards (3.5-4% or so), but it has historically been absorbed by the seller who must either lose profit or raise their prices. Customers haven’t seen this fee. In the past 2 years or so, I’ve seen restaurants charge customers the credit card fee – I’m not sure if this is everywhere or just in my state (?). Customers got mad that they had to pay for using their credit cards instead of the seller eating it or raising prices.

But I kind of looked at it the other way – customers who paid cash were previously paying the inflated price which included covering the credit card fee. Cash customers didn’t get a break on paying the inflated price! I like the option of cash or credit – you pay the fee if you use the credit card which generates fees to the sellers-- otherwise, pay cash and there’s no fee.

So I guess this is a new fee for customers, on top of the fee charged to sellers…

“So, if it were me, what would I do?” Clark pondered. “I have an ATM card that has a Visa logo on it. I’ve never used it for anything but drawing out ATM money.

Clark apparently doesn’t even understand the entire problem with debit cards. One problem is that someone who steals your entire wallet can drain your account by running your debit card “as credit.” Not using the debit card except at the ATM with a PIN does absolutely nothing to prevent that.


I’v open a Discover savings account plus a Discover checking account with it’s debit card that pays 1% back on money spent. When needed, move money from savings to checking to cover expenses.

Yes, this. Luckily my bank gave me an ATM-only card when I asked. I have their bank credit card, so I have no use for (or trust in) a debit card.

And the first time I got a debit card, I asked about security from theft. They told me the PIN will protect my account. I went to a store and purchased an item - no PIN needed! So yes, the account can be drained, and I find no comfort in eventually getting my money back !!

:100: True, Clark’s strategy won’t help if the entire wallet is stolen, but that’s a slim chance. The more places you use a card, the more risk you have of the card number being stolen. So, the most likely theft comes from using a debit card for online purchases and in-person purchases, which exposes your debit card number to potential criminals who’ll use it as a credit card and drain your checking account. It’s much easier than stealing a wallet.

Many people don’t understand that Card Not Present transactions will not use the PIN, so its worthless. When my bank stopped issuing ATM-only cards, I went in and talked with the branch manager about disabling the POS option. I cannot remember what we did exactly, but either there was a disable switch or we were able to set the limit to $1. In any case, I tested it and all POS transactions failed afterward. This was well before the ability to lock/unlock was available in the mobile app.

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For years now, Arco gas stations having been changing an extra 10 cents a gallon for any credit use, unless you get their Arco gas credit card. I just pay with cash now, it’s safer than using their swiping machines for credit cards anyways.

No matter which side you are on, love / hate debit cards, one thing is getting clear to me.

Banks do NOT care about your security. There are many things they could do, like adding more security options, but they don’t actually care.


The fact that we still have checks confirms this statement. The fact that we did not implement chip & pin on credit cards confirms this statement.


High credit card fees are only in the US. Again, we’re getting hosed. Everywhere else I’m aware of (Europe definitely), credit card fees are 0.5% or less.

Don’t you feel lucky to live where at least you know you’re free? (free to help buy the next CEO business jet)

By that logic, why doesn’t Clark want to minimize any risks he can? Even if it’s “a slim chance,” (and how would you even calculate that) but you could eliminate it, why wouldn’t you? If I have two problems, and I can only solve one of them, I’m going to do it even if there’s another one. In this case, though, rejecting the Visa/MC-branded debit card entirely does solve both problems.

Last time I filled up at ARCO, they didn’t accept credit cards at all. They charged a per-transaction fee for ATM cards (with PIN, not necessarily debit cards) of something like 35 cents.

Yes. I am surprised that none of them I know of allow the use of a hardware key for security, or maybe have some better options than just the OTP.

Bank of America allows a hardware key