December 03, 2008

Debit Cards Can Help Consumers Manage Spending During Holidays

PULSE Offers Tips to Track Expenses, Shop Securely Through Holiday Season

HOUSTON, Dec 03, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In today's economic downturn, most families are feeling pressure to spend frugally this holiday season, as the growing importance of properly managing household funds compels consumers to keep a watchful eye on spending. This month, PULSE, a leading ATM/debit network and Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) company, offers consumers helpful tips on using debit cards to save money, manage their budget and protect their identity during the holiday shopping season.

"The holidays can be a difficult time of year for consumers to keep track of just how much money they are spending on gifts, travel and entertainment," said Cindy Ballard, PULSE executive vice president. "Debit cards offer a great way for consumers to monitor their spending online almost instantly, allowing more accurate, real-time budget tracking and better financial management as compared to cash and checks."

Debit cards offer consumers control over their finances, with the money spent in a debit card transaction drawn from existing funds in their account.

"It is important for consumers to remember to track account balances through register entries or online banking, to avoid overdrafts and associated fees," said Ballard.

The holiday season is also a good time to think about the coming year and how to plan a family budget. For more information, visit, where this month's exclusive expert article features tips from financial planning expert Judy Lawrence on how to build a monthly budget that accounts for holidays, savings and everyday expenses., sponsored by PULSE, helps consumers learn how to prevent identity theft, lower the risk of financial fraud and use their debit cards to track spending when shopping during the holidays and year-round.

PULSE Holiday Spending Tips

-- Change Your PIN - Changing your debit card PIN periodically and using different PINs for different accounts provides a greater level of security and can make it more difficult for a criminal to use your card.

-- Surf Securely - Look for secure transaction symbols when shopping online to ensure your account information is protected.

-- Report Missing Cards - Immediately call your financial institution if your debit card is lost or stolen to reduce the chance that it will be used improperly.

-- Protect Your PIN - Never give your PIN to anyone online or in person, for any reason. Never let anyone enter your PIN for you.

-- Track Your Spending - Check your balance online to ensure that all of the charges are accurate, and not fraudulent.

For more tips and facts about debit card usage, visit


PULSE is one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,500 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS). The network links cardholders with more than 265,000 ATMs, as well as POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. The company is also a valued resource for industry research related to electronic payments and is committed to providing its participants with education on evolving products, services and trends in the payments industry. For more information, visit


Anne Rhodes, 832-214-0234
Rebekah Morgan, 972-341-2509