On July 1, 2017, a new Florida Statute passed that bans the use of debit cards by a condominium association. The punishment for using a debit card? Credit card fraud. Ouch. Specifically, Florida Statute 718.111(15) states the following:
(a) An association and its officers, directors, employees, and agents may not use a debit card issued in the name of the association, or billed directly to the association, for the payment of any association expense.
(b) Use of a debit card issued in the name of the association, or billed directly to the association, for any expense that is not a lawful obligation of the association may be prosecuted as credit card fraud pursuant to s. 817.61.
Associations once considered debit cards a great tool for quick access to funds and an easy way to manage the day-to-day general expenses, but now condominium associations are scrambling to find other solutions to their banking needs - and we suspect homeowners' associations will be next.
We encourage you to contact a bank that understands the unique banking needs of community associations and offers programs tailored to these specific needs. These programs may include bank credit card programs with cash back points rewards, lines of credit, hurricane remediation and insurance deductible financing. Specifically seek out banks that offer Association Lending Programs with features such as not requiring personal guarantees, both short and long-term amortization schedules, the ability to control the access of funds and better accounting reconciliation for projects. Finally, always make sure your decisions are in line with the current statutes and your governing documents. When in doubt, ask an expert!