The debit card highs and lows

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I have a love/hate relationship with my bank-issued debit card. I love to use it because it is convenient. I hate it, however, because I have a tendency to lose the thing.

A debit card is about the same thing as an ATM card. They both will give you access to your money at a cash machine but the debit card can also be used with the one-swipe convenience of a credit card. Basically, using a debit card is just like writing a check. A debit card was made for people like me, who are usually juggling a purse, a Diet Coke and four other packages.

The bad thing is I have a tendency to stick my debit card in my pocket or in my car and then lose it. In the last three years, I’ve gone through three cards. Each &8220;misplaced&8221; card required a call to the bank and then waiting for them to send a replacement.

&8220;Is there a limit on how many of those things they will send you?&8221; Greg asked me last week.

&8220;Sure hope not,&8221; I said, as I rummaged around in my purse looking for the latest card. I had received it two weeks ago, just long enough to learn the new PIN code and now, I couldn’t find it.

The first one I lost ended up sitting on top of a gas station pump. I know this because the nice lady who found it called me and told me that’s where she had discovered it. It had already been cancelled, of course, but she sent it back to me anyway.

The second card went through the washing machine and then landed in the dryer. It didn’t work after that, probably because it was slightly bent. The third card has never been found, but no one tried to use it. I remain convinced it is somewhere under the seat in my car, but at this point it was easier just to get a new one than dig through my car.

I realized I was missing the fourth one last weekend as I was standing in line to pay for something. I panicked, just like I do each time I discover the debit card gone. I then swapped all my packages around and wrote an old-fashioned check.

I had decided to keep this latest missing card to myself, not wanting to hear from Greg how I had lost yet another card. I blurted it out, however, as we were standing in line at another store later in the day.

&8220;Can’t find my debit card. I’m sure it will turn up,&8221; I said, as I pulled his department store credit card out of my purse.

&8220;Wait. You lose four debit cards but you seem to have no trouble putting your hands on my Parisian’s card,&8221; Greg said. &8220;Why is that?&8221;

&8220;Priorities,&8221; I replied. &8220;I make sure to keep up with important things.&8221;

Postscript: Debit Card No. 4 turned up later that same evening, tucked away in a pant’s pocket. It is safe – at least for now.

Leada Gore is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and Madison County Record. She is a former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at