The $38 cup of coffee? The Top 5 risks of using your debit card

credit cards
credit cards

Consider this case: a man miscalculates how much money is in his checking account, uses it seven times in a day with no single charge more than $12 and ends up charged with $234 in overdraft fees. Welcome to the dangers of debit cards.

The plight of Peter Means, 59, of Colorado and how he came to be facing all these fees -- which in one instance cost him more than $38 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks ($4.14 for the coffee, $34 for the overdraft) -- was chronicled in the New York Times. Means' situation is just an example of how big a profit center these fees have become for banks, how important they are for banks and how consumer outrage over them have pushed lawmakers to try to rein them in.