Debit Cards: 8 Ways to Keep Debit Card Transactions Safe
Consumers prefer using debit cards for online purchases to credit cards because of accumulating debt issues associated with credit card transactions. However, debit card fraud is rampant, especially in non-bank ATMs including convenience stores and gas stations. While there are measures you can take after being defrauded, why don’t you start by protecting yourself with the following 8 guidelines?
1. Refresh your bank statement often
Online fraud happens in an instant and at any time. That’s why you’re always advised to check your bank statements now and then. This enables you to track your account balances and be aware of fraudsters.
What’s more, with the advent of technology, you can track and reconcile your transactions. All you need is to download an online accounting platform that will enable you to notice any irregularities that may be due to fraudulent activities.
2. Only use bank-owned ATMs
Automated Teller Machines are a common sight across the US allowing a cardholder instant access to their accounts. However, they’re easily susceptible to skimming activities from fraudsters resulting in losses. Fraudsters skim your account by intercepting and storing your account details so that they can withdraw cash from your checking accounts.
As such, it’s important to use bank-owned ATMs, since they are constantly monitored by security personnel. Skimmers find it hard to install their skimming devices on bank-owned ATMs, which gives cardholders utilizing such ATMs some sense of security.
3. Don’t share your PIN
A PIN is a Personal Identification Number that’s a defensive mechanism against fraudsters. Without it, accessing the funds in your account isn’t possible, so you must safeguard it at all times.
Avoid keying in your debit card PIN when purchasing items. Instead, utilize your debit card in the credit purchase function. This stops you from publicizing your PIN. Another crucial aspect of protecting your PIN is keeping it private. It is a personal belonging that shouldn’t be exposed, if you’re forgetful keep your written PIN locked away from prying eyes.
For debit cards that come with pre-determined PINs, change them to a number you can’t forget and isn’t popular like your birthday, anniversary, or address.
4. Switch to a credit card for online transactions
Credit cards pose a risk of trapping you in a debt cycle when utilized recklessly. However, they offer a protective barrier against fraudsters because of the nature of their transactions.
Each transaction takes time to be processed giving you additional time to scrutinize your account statement and balance, enabling you to dispute suspicious transactions. Also, the Fair Credit Billing Act may protect credit card consumers who’ve experienced fraud.
You should ensure that websites are encrypted before engaging in online transactions. You can achieve this by checking for an unbroken key or padlock on the website.
5. Keep off public network WiFi when using your card
At all times avoid using open public WiFi when transacting online using your debit card. Fraudsters usually spy on public WiFi and target people who input personal details using public connections. The hackers can see as you input your password and check your balance over the internet. They can then intercept the data, access your bank account and compromise it.
If you must use a public wireless signal to pay bills and check balances, then it must be a secure network (password-protected) to make you less vulnerable to hacking.
6. Set up a custom security profile
Creating a security profile is top of the list for keeping your debit card transactions safe. In addition to creating a strong password, use security questions and mobile phone backup to get an extra layer of security.
The security questions and phone backup will come in handy during the authentication process when hackers attempt to access your debit card with several failed password attempts or to log in from unknown devices.
7. Report any issues immediately
Just as is the norm to report a stolen or missing debit card, make it a habit to immediately report any issues you encounter with your card such as unauthorized transactions. If you report early enough, the bank can stop the transaction and cancel your debit card.
Immediately reporting the problems can prevent extra charges and further fraud attempts such as identity theft.
8. File a police report
Besides reporting a stolen debit to your card provider, go a step further and get a police report. Filing a police report will enable the debit card company to absolve you of any liability and prevent unwarranted penalties.
Unauthorized Charges on Your Debit Card
According to CFPB, should there be unauthorized charges on an account whose debit is not stolen or lost, the consumer can be protected only if they report the charges to the provider within 60 days.
In case the debit card is lost or stolen, consumers have only 2 days to notify the card issuer after learning about the loss. Consumers who notify their institution will have a liability not exceeding $50. Those who fail to give a timely notice could lose up to a maximum of $500.
But with heightened debit card security, most banks overlook the above rules and don’t make their customers liable for charges deemed fraudulent. However, they still encourage customers to report unauthorized transactions immediately.
The increase in online financial transactions has made debit cards an integral part of our daily lives. We shop online, pay bills and even check our balances daily. But with this increase in convenience, hackers have spotted a loophole to swindle debit card holders. There’s now a need to have reliable identity theft protection tools is more important than ever. Such tools as iLock360 help users protect their personal information by alerting them of suspicious activity on their accounts, monitoring their credit reports, and providing guidance on how to respond to a potential breach to be more vigilant than ever to keep your account safe when transacting online and the above tips are a good place to start.