Turn off the debit function of your debit card

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Clark absolutely hates debit cards and routinely describes them as piece of trash fake MasterCard or Visas. But what if there were a way to have the debit part of your debit card turned off — essentially rendering it only useful for ATM withdrawals?

It turns out there is! Special thanks to several listeners including Tracy and Al for letting us know how they got their institutions to deactivate all debit capabilities on their cards.

Transform your debit card into a more secure ATM card

Every debit card has two limits, or sides of data, that your bank or credit union sets internally. One is the ATM side. The other is called the ‘point of sale’ (POS) side. This POS side is the one that allows all transactions that are not at an ATM — even ones that still require a PIN.

Your ATM side should always be active and enabled to track your current available balance. But your POS side can and should be set to zero and turned off entirely. It’s just a matter of disabling the portion of the magnetic strip that accesses the debit function, leaving your card with only traditional ATM capabilities.

Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo all give you the option to turn off the POS function on your debit card upon your request. Citibank currently does not.

If you do this, you’ll still have a Visa or MasterCard logo on the front of your card, but the POS function won’t be able to read your balance. If you tried to use it as a debit card, it would see zero funds and your purchase would be denied.