Protect yourself when using cards

You would not give a thief the details of your checking account, but when using a debit card in an unsecured location, you are effectively doing just that. When you use your debit card carelessly, you run the risk of being the victim of card fraud.

Debit cards are more risky

With a credit card, if you spot any unusual transactions that you know you have not made, you can dispute them with the card provider, and decline the charges before paying the credit card bill. However, with a debit card, the money is taken directly from your bank account, meaning you have no way of declining any fraudulent charges. This makes them hot targets for fraudsters.

Protect your card purchases and ATM withdrawals

You can protect yourself and your cards by using a few simple steps whenever you need to use the cards. Contact information given to the bank or card provider should be regularly updated. This makes it faster and easier for your bank to notify you of any unusual transactions. Being smart with your online transactions can help to protect your information. Only shop with merchants that provide secure transactions, and have secure websites. And avoid public Wi-Fi hot-spots when making purchases. Making regular checks of your account balance can help to provide an early warning should your debit card be used fraudulently, and you can report any suspicious transactions to your bank immediately. Also, take note of the bank’s emergency hotline numbers to call in case your card gets stolen.

Using your cards abroad

If you plan on using your card abroad, then you should let your bank know before you travel, or some of your transactions could be declined due to what the bank sees as suspicious activity. It can be hard to contact your bank from a foreign country if you do not have their international customer support numbers. And keep an eye out for anything suspicious on the ATMs. Skimmers can be attached to ATMs to read your card data when you insert your card, and read the punches of your PIN on the keypad. If anything on the ATM looks loose, crooked, or damaged, do not use the machine and report it to the bank, as it may have been tampered with. Fraudsters like to target ATMs and fuel pumps with skimming equipment, or using a separate skimmer when swiping your card in a coffee shop or store. If you notice anything unusual when making a store purchase, decline the transaction and go elsewhere. Finally, being vigilant with your surrounding when using ATMs can help protect your cards. Always cover the keypad with your hand when typing the PIN, and be careful of strangers standing too close while you are using the ATM.

Security is the most important attribute of a bank

Choosing a bank that puts an emphasis on security is undoubtedly the best option. Your card should come with an EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, Visa) chip and PIN, and it is always best to use the chip and PIN than to use the magnetic stripe option. This provides an added layer of security that the swipe cards do not have.


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