The April 2012 issue of ShopSmart, published by Consumer Reports, points out five scenarios that can get consumers in trouble when using their debit card. The story made me realize I’ve become careless. I summarize the dos and don’ts of staying safe when you use a debit card below. How do you keep safe when using your debit card?
- Using your debit card for big online purchases. Guilty! Though, I’m not making big purchase. I recently bought a subscription to Bon Appetit and used my debit card. I haven’t received the mag and it’s been a while. A credit card gives you more protection and they can intervene when things go wrong. We’ve told you before that your liability for fraudulent charges on your credit card is lower than debit cards. You can lose up to $500 using a debit card if you don’t report the theft or loss of your card within two business days. Yikes!
- Using your debit card at a restaurants. Since the use of debit cards increased, I’ve heard many stories of people getting their card information stolen while dinning at restaurants. The reason is because you hand your card to a stranger and don’t know what’s going on when they leave the table.
- Don’t use an obvious PIN. I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this before, don’t use your birthday as your PIN. But how long has it been since you’ve changed it? Change it regularly.
- Save receipts. Double check that the amount is accurate when your statement arrives. Pounce on errors to correct them.
- Sign up for online banking. I have my banks app on my iPhone and it lets me track every purchase at real time. I don’t have to wait for my statement to arrive to check for errors.
- Use your banks ATMs only. Not only will this help you cut down on the bank fees, but it cut’s down the risk of getting your info stolen.
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