Debit cards often offer less protection from theft in comparison to using cash or a credit card. A debit card is directly linked to your bank account, making it an instant target for thieves everywhere. Once they’ve got your information, they can drain both your checking and your savings. Here are five places to opt for a cash payment or a credit card, rather than using your bank card.
At a restaurant, your card can be out of sight for several minutes and there’s no telling what could happen when your card leaves your hand. Your server could easily be making purchases online or over the phone before returning your card to you 10 minutes later. In short, when it comes to restaurants, pay with cash. If you don’t have enough cash on hand, then opt for a credit card but avoid using your bank card and keep an eye on your credit card transactions.
Whether it’s an ATM machine, a gas station pump, a soda machine in the mall or a dvd rental box at your grocery store; they all allow you to use a card to pay. Unfortunately, these are often places where thieves place skimming machines. Skimming machines steal your information when you insert your card, turning you $1.50 soda into a $300.00 soda.
Instead, take a few minutes of your day, get a little bit of exercise and go inside the gas station to pay with cash, go into the bank to do your transactions and pay with cash whenever possible with machines, unless you’re positive you can identify a skimming machine.
Recurring Bill Payments
Not having to remember to mail out a bill is nice. Unfortunately, when you sign up for a recurring payment, that company stores your card number and other personal information. If that company gets hacked, your information could get stolen. Furthermore, if you can’t remember to pay your bill on time, can you trust yourself to remember to deduct that bill from your checkbook every month?
Consider getting yourself into the habit of setting aside time each week (or every other week) in order to pay all of your bills that approaching via another method. This will help you protect yourself from theft and also protect yourself from the embarrassment of bank fees.
Online or Over the Phone
In today’s world, online shopping is a common practice. Unfortunately, there are thousands of websites that target consumers purely as a scam. Once you’ve entered in your information to their website, they can drain your bank account instantly. When shopping online, choose to use a credit card rather than a bank card. If you don’t have a credit card, consider getting a prepaid card, which prevents them from draining any accounts.
The same goes for paying for things over the phone, as you don’t truly know who you’re giving your information to or what they could do it once you hang up.
Both hotels and gas stations can place a hold on money in your account. So, using a debit card when traveling could mean that all of your money gets tied up, leaving you without any cash. When traveling, always use a credit card to pay for hotels, that helps keep the cash in your bank account free for other things like meals, souvenirs or other items and services.