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How Students Can Avoid Debit Fees

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Here are some tips for college students to avoid paying fees when using a college-issued debit or prepaid card:

  • Students who receive a debit card in the mail are under no obligation to activate the account to receive financial aid.
  • Students should know that although the card is called a debit card, they can be charged a 50-cent fee per transaction if they use it with a PIN. To avoid the fee, sign for the transaction as if it were a credit card.
  • Students should know which banks charge the lowest out-of-network ATM fees. They will incur these fees when they withdraw from an ATM machine not affiliated with the card.
  • To avoid overdraft fees, students with just a few dollars on their account should not have any recurring monthly charges on this account nor should they pay using checks from the account.

Source: U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocacy group.

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