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Report Warns Of Dangers Of Linking School ID And Debit Card

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new report warns students of the dangers of linking their school identification card to a debit card; an option that more and more colleges are offering. The report says some banks charge excessive fees.

Several local colleges have agreements with PNC Bank to provide debit card services on student ID cards.

Student ID cards have long been used for small purchases on or near campuses, laundry, vending machines, etc.

However, Rich Williams of the Public Interest Research Group says banks now have forged agreements to turn them into full service debit cards and make them the default for accessing student aid, adding fees in the process.

“Every time you swipe your card as a debit card, there’s a 50 cent fee. There’s inactivity fees as high as 20 dollars a month and overdraft fees as high as 40 dollars,” Williams explained.

Williams says PNC Bank — which has agreements with Temple, Penn, Penn State and 20 other schools — charges only normal debit fees, but students should be aware the bank’s contract with the school doesn’t obligate them to bank there.

At Penn and Temple, PNC Bank provides debit card services on student IDs, but Temple Vice President Richard Rumer says it is simply a convenience.

“There are no fees whatsoever charged to our students for being a PNC client.”

A PNC spokesman says the bank actually help students manage money better with a number of online tools.

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