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Don’t be confused by credit and debit cards

Dear Dave,

I take classes online at a public university that is several hours from my home. I tried to pay for my classes the other day, and my Visa debit card was not accepted. I got a message saying credit cards and cash were the only payment options. How can I take care of this without wasting an entire day driving to campus to pay with cash?


Dear Amy,

Don't worry, there's no need for you to drive all the way to campus and back just to pay for your classes. You can run a debit card like it's a credit card, and they will accept it. The machines don't recognise the difference, whether you type in a credit-card number or a debit card number.

Just select “credit” when it asks for payment method. It's just like when you step up to pay for something at the store and they ask the old credit or debit question. You say credit, so you don't have to enter your PIN (personal identification number), and it all stays in the Visa system.

You're just using it wrong, and that's why you're having trouble. Just remember this in the future, and best of luck with your classes!


Dear Dave,

My husband and I have been debt-free, except for our mortgage, for a few years now. Recently, we've been thinking about moving to be closer to family. We've found a home we're interested in, but it has a large utility tower on the property not far from the house. Should we still consider this home?


Dear Denise,

The downsides are simple. One, you've got to look at the stupid thing every time you're sitting on your patio. Two, when you get ready to sell it, everyone who looks at the house is going to have the same concerns you have. It's not going to appreciate in value, and you're going to have trouble selling it when the time comes.

If you're willing to put up with those two things, you might get a steal of a deal on this place because no one else may want this house. And when I say a steal, I'm talking around 40 per cent off the appraisal. To me personally, it would be enough of an eyesore that I probably wouldn't buy. Again, that's just an opinion.

Keep in mind that if you go through with this, when you get ready to sell it you're going to lose out on any money you gained in the buy. Someone is going to do the same thing to you. I'm not completely killing the deal, but I definitely wouldn't buy it to live in.

As a rental? Maybe, if I were going to keep it for ever. Because people will always rent. But honestly, I wouldn't want to put up with the hassle in either scenario.


Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven bestselling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 12 million listeners each week on 575 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

Plastic money: Dave Ramsey advises that you can use a debit card like a credit card in situations that appear to be solely asking for a credit card

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Published February 04, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 04, 2017 at 12:33 am)

Don’t be confused by credit and debit cards

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