Debit card disasters: What to do when you get burned

Most people don't think twice when they hand over a debit card to make a purchase, but not Gregory Meyer. He is particularly wary of debit cards that can be used like credit cards -- and for good reason.

Last summer, Meyer, who lives in San Jose, California, used his debit card to book a rental car that he planned to drive from Memphis, Tennessee, to St. Louis while he was on vacation. The car was supposed to cost him about $240. When Meyer went to make a purchase in Memphis, he discovered that his bank account had been frozen. The rental car agency had put a $500 hold on the account, an amount that was steep enough (and that occurred far enough away from his home) to trigger a fraud alert at his bank.