Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ATM Cards for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMXXXI

atm vs debit vs credit card
Most of the Antisocial Network's DotD nominees receive their awards because they try to answer questions on topics about which they know no useful information. A surprising number -- though perhaps we shouldn't be surprised -- arrive on this blog because of a combination of ignorance and greed; a combination that's especially true of people trying to answer questions on the Leaf Group of websites, formerly eHow. Take today's nominee, six-time winner and professional freelancer Alicia Bodine, who knew nothing about "How Do ATM Cards Work?" before taking this "assignment" at eHow -- and also knew nothing after completing it; the same as her readers.

Bodine, who (according to linkedin) apparently works at a reservation counter somewhere, basically punted on this one. Oh, she got paid by Demand Media, but not for answering the question, no Alicia decided to cast the question as "How Do You Use Your New ATM Card?" instead of actually addressing the question -- probably because it was well beyond her intellectual capacity. Instead of a discussion of coded magnetic strips (the black stripe on the back of the card), Alicia treated her readers to sections titled,
  • Requesting an ATM Card
  • Using an ATM Machine
  • Using Your ATM to Make Store Purchases
  • Using Your ATM Online
Yes, this idiot did 1) say "ATM Machine" (she also mentions "pin numbers"), tell you to take an ATM to the store, and 3) confuses an ATM card  with a debit card. No duh: she actually tells people to
"When you get to the counter, hand the cashier your card and tell her it is a debit card. She will instruct you on how to swipe your card through the machine and enter your PIN number."
    
No, dumbass, people can't just call any ATM card a debit card -- that's up to the bank! A debit card is linked to VISA or MasterCard, and has the word "debit" printed on its face. An ATM card -- of which there are vanishingly few these days, we'll admit -- can only be used in an automated teller machine (or, as Bodine calls them, automated teller machine machines).

     But hey, folks: that's not "how an ATM card works," that's how you use one. As for how it works? Well, that's a scientific question about magnetizing and reading the tiny iron particles in that black strip on the back of your ATM, debit, or credit card. It's the same principle by which recording tape and, for you old-school types, floppy disks work. That's all Bodine had to say, but she didn't -- and that's why Alicia is our Dumbass of the Day -- again.

SI - TECHNOLOGY

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