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The Dangers of a Cashless Life

The Dangers of a Cashless Life

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NBC's Tracy Davidson ReportingDo you have cash in your pocket or would you be lost without your debit card? The cards make it easier to spend money and that can be a problem.

Christopher Coyne, Ph.D., CFP, Saint Joseph's University: "What's the difference between using a card and a dollar bill? Really nothing."

It all spends the same! If you're using your debit card, the money is coming right from your account--no muss, no fuss, and no interest! But living a cashless life does have some dangers.

Dr. Christopher Coyne of the Department of Finance at Saint Joseph's University says you should take steps to protect not only your money, but yourself.

Christopher Coyne: "I don't sign the backs of my cards. The statement that I write on the back of my card is 'please ask for id', for a photo id."

Also, pick a random pin number, so you're keeping your money safe. What about your spending habits? What would you do if your card was suddenly disabled by your bank? Dr. Coyne suggests keeping a second account at a second bank.

Christopher Coyne: "They don't need a lot of money in each bank, that's not the point, they could keep a modest amount, just as a fall back position."

The key to keeping your spending in check is keeping good records.

Christopher Coyne: "I go online to check my balance, to check the transactions believe it or not at least, at least once a day to make sure that I recorded everything that I thought I did."

Doctor Coyne says don't sign the back of your cards, but we do want you to know that VISA doesn't agree. The company recommends you sign the card and write "Please ask for ID" under your signature. That's because merchants are told not to accept unsigned cards.

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