The digital age has ushered in convenience, but also one fear that most people share – having their identity and financial information stolen such as a debit card PIN (versus a credit card). Why? Because with your debit card you’re at risk as scammers can immediately begin funneling money out of your checking account. So, the choice between using a credit card versus a debit card could be the difference between losing $50 or $500.
6 quick tips to keeping your debit card information safe and secure.
- Keep alert at the pump
One of the riskiest places you can use your debit card is a gas station. Skimmers attached to the pumps are a quick and easy way for cyber criminals to begin siphoning money from your checking account.
What steps can you take top protect yourself from this scam? Keep alert for anything that seems suspicious at the pump. And should anything seem fishy, pay inside where it’s more secure.
- Check your payment options when eating out
Because of how most restaurants operate today, they’ve become unsafe when it comes to your personal financial information. Servers can easily write down your card number or skim your info when swiping it at a terminal away from your table.
As this is becoming a growing concern for their customers, some restaurants have taken action and adopted the use of mobile card readers that process the debit card at your table. If this isn’t an option and you don’t have cash on hand, using a credit card can be safer.
- Use another banks ATM if yours isn’t available
Privately owned and operated ATMs, like the ones you’d find in a convenience store, are one of the riskiest places to swipe debit cards since they aren’t regulated and licenses differ from state to state. In fact, since anyone can buy and sell ATM’s, you have no idea who is processing your transaction, but it’s most certainly not your bank.
If your bank’s ATM isn’t an option, you’re safer using an out-of-network ATM from another bank. Sure, you’ll end up paying a surcharge, but they’re much safer than a Non-Bank ATM. When it comes to your debit card information, the more precautions you take, the better.
- When out shopping, pay with a credit card or cash
While data breaches continue to plague large and small retailers alike, other types of retail fraud are also on the rise. In fact, point of sale terminals are no longer safe from the same skimming devices used at gas stations. The best way to protect yourself from becoming a victim of debt card fraud at a retail store, besides using cash, is using a credit card. Not only will this action make it easier to dispute a charge, but it will also minimize your risk.
- Debit cards are dangerous to use at hotels
Whether it’s for work or pleasure, hotels can be a dangerous place to use your debit card. Why? Because when using your debit card (or any card for that matter), your personal data is most likely kept on file. And you can never be sure who has access to this sensitive information.
Additionally, a hold is often placed on your debit card by the hotel for the estimated cost of your stay, which will immediately affect the availability of your funds.
- Avoid having your payment information on file
Health care providers are also targets of data thieves because they have so much personal information on hand, including your Social Security number. They maintain this information for large periods of time. Plus, administrators aren’t experts at protecting sensitive information and may not catch fraudulent activity in time, if at all.
To safeguard your financial data, ask your health care provider to avoid keeping your payment data on file. Remaining informed and vigilant is your best protection from having your sensitive financial data fall into the hands of scammers.