Black Friday: Debit card 'don'ts'

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Even though the most recent consumer credit reports show credit card debt is declining, consumer's debit cards are getting quite a workout. Debit card transactions recently surpassed credit card transactions for the first time ever.

Experts are forecasting debit card transactions to surge even further past their credit card siblings on Black Friday -- and caution that consumers need to be cautious when wielding their debit cards (on transactions requiring a PIN number) this holiday shopping season.

"Consumers are trying to keep their credit card balances low," Carrie Coghill Kuntz, spokeswoman for said in a press release. "So many are using debit cards."

There is a difference
It's important to understand, even if your debit/credit card has one of those cute little VISA logos plastered on the bottom right side, if you complete a transaction using your PIN (personal identification number) number, you're NOT covered under VISA's liability policy.

And those PIN-based transactions - not ones where you swipe your debit/credit card and opt to complete the transaction as a "credit" purchase - can wind up costing you a lot more than you'd expect.