Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Gift Cards
Credit, debit, and gift cards have made the access to credit more convenient, but they come with terms and conditions that consumers should understand. Laws that went into effect in 2010 provide added protection to consumers. Read Answers about Credit Cards for more information.
Credit Card Practices
The OCC has issued guidance to national banks on credit card practices that are unacceptable because they may constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The OCC has also taken a number of formal enforcement actions against national banks that have engaged in abusive practices and has required the payment of millions of dollars in restitution to customers harmed by such practices.
Consumers often use debit cards similarly to credit cards, but they are very different. Debit cards take money directly from the bank account rather than borrowing money at a rate of interest, and they often use a personal identification number (PIN) instead of a signature. Because debit cards deduct the purchase amount from your account, using the card carelessly can result in overdrafts, which may result in high fees. Read more about overdraft protection.
An OCC consumer advisory provides important information that shoppers should have about the terms and conditions that apply to gift cards. See OCC Offers Consumers Holiday Tips on Gift Cards (PDF), as well as Answers about Gift Cards at our HelpWithMyBank Web site. The agency also produces a variety of public service announcements to help make consumers more aware of rules and risks regarding gift cards. Read the latest public service feature (PDF) and listen to the latest (MPG).