When you use a debit card, the purchase’s total is discounted directly from your checking account. On the other hand, when you use your credit card, the purchase will be taken from your credit line.
That makes a big difference when it comes to fraud. Most credit cards come with zero fraud liability, but debit cards don’t. That means that contesting a charge is a lot harder if you used debit to make a purchase.
For that reason, you should be even more careful when using your debit card to make purchases. Here are the five most dangerous places to swipe your debit card:
Gas stations are one of the riskiest places to use your debit card. The reason why is because scammers might be using skimming devices and cameras on the payment terminals to steal your card information. It’s a good idea to always check it, and if you don’t feel safe, you can use a credit card since it comes with fraud protection, pay inside or maybe even go to another gas station.
Another dangerous place that most people overlook when using their debit cards is online purchases. Scammers could be using malware software or fake websites to steal your information while you’re shopping on the Internet.
There are some things you can do to shop online safely. For example, always check if the site is encrypted (you’ll see a locked padlock to the left of the URL), avoid using public Wi-Fi connections, and install and keep antivirus software updated on your device.
Non-Bank ATMs are very convenient since they are in places like gas stations, street corners, restaurants, and many other places, but they can also be riskier. It’s always best to use ATMs inside a store or a bright, busy place and check if they look suspicious or not, or look for bank ATMs since they are checked more often for security threats. Criminals often use machines that read the card’s magnetic stripe placed over real card slots to steal your card information and make fraudulent purchases.
Usually, when paying the bill at restaurants and bars, you’ll give your debit card to the waiter to swipe it for you, meaning that your card will get out of your sight. That increases the potential of fraud since they can copy your card’s data. If you want to be safer, you can use a credit card or pay cash.
It would be best if you were careful when shopping at outdoor markets, festivals, or any other street vendors, because they could be using a skimming device to steal your payment information. It’s a good idea to avoid using your debit card in these locations to be extra careful.
What Can You Do?
You can check your account at least once a week for any fraudulent charges. Always make sure that the card slot does not look suspicious. You can also enable real-time spending push notifications on your smartphone so that you know every time there’s a debit on your card. Another way to be safer is by giving preference to chip cards or using cash or a credit card.