Heard something new the other day. I was buying pajamas and picking up prescriptions at Target when I got the hard sell for a Target debit card. Not a charge card, but a debit, linked directly to a bank account.
The nice lady at checkout was very excited about it. There are no fees, no limits and I would get 5% percent back on each purchase, she said. "That'll really add up at Christmas," she added. (Shana Tova!)
I have a no-more-credit-cards-of-any-kind policy right now, so I declined. But I wondered if this was a new trend. More Americans are using cash and debit cards, trying to stay out of debt. Would other stores join Target in offering a debit card? Has Wal-Mart already done this? Macy's? Nordstrom? (as if)
I ran this by one of the best financial experts in the country, CBS Moneywatch Editor Jill Schlesinger. She hadn't heard much about store debit cards, but she advises we stay away from store cards in general. Here's why:
The last time I bought pj's I thought I was going to be on a reality show. (Food Network, I'm still waiting for you! Call me!) That was quite a while ago and since then, we've all gotten much more careful with our money.
Credit card debt has fallen for five straight quarters, dropping below $5000 for the first time since 2002. Will a debit card with rewards appeal to our new frugality or will we see it as another way for big business to keep tabs and a tether on our money? Would you sign up?