The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a warning about the use of 401(k) debit cards that allow employees at some companies to borrow money from their retirement plans.

A 401(k) debit card lets people borrow up to $50,000, or 50 percent of the value of their retirement plan, whichever is less. However, unlike a debit card that deducts money from a bank account, a 401(k) withdrawal is a loan. Users must repay the loan, along with fees and interest, or incur substantial penalties.

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