Recently I was interrupted during a fabulous vacation by a call from the bank. Thankfully they weren’t calling about the card I was intending to use for the check, but they did have some concerns about something else that is dear to my heart: one of my clients.

The bank had picked up on some activity that it considered suspicious. A lot of money was being withdrawn from the ATM, and that triggered a security feature that retrieved the image of the person making the withdrawals. The person on the phone described the person making the withdrawals to me, and right away I knew that it was my client’s caregiver and that she had permission to use the card.

Deep down I knew that no one is supposed to give their debit card and PIN to anyone else, but I was unprepared for what happened next. The person from the bank informed me that it was a breach of contract for my client to give her card and PIN to anyone else, and that they would have to freeze the account.

As a business owner myself, I knew that it is relatively easy to obtain credit cards with different authorized users, but I didn’t remember ever encountering a debit card that had more than one authorized user. As it turns out, I must not get out very much—because I just learned about three different ways to ensure you never breach your contract with your bank:

  • Add an authorized user: Not every bank offers this option, but it is possible to obtain another debit card with an authorized user’s name imprinted on it. 
  • Get a business debit card: For those who have a business, having a business debit card simplifies the process of paying bills, etc., because the money is deducted straight from the checking account. Furthermore, most banks offer the option of adding authorized users. 
  • Open a new account: Setting up a new account is another way to ensure that the card being used bears the name of the person using it. It also helps categorizing expenses; for example, some of my clients have special bill-paying debit cards, while others have accounts for their caregivers to use for shopping.

Learn from my client’s mistake instead of learning the hard way: Be sure that anyone you need to purchase things on your behalf is an authorized user and avoid being frozen out of your account.