If you use debit cards for the bulk of your purchasing as I do, you need to be careful about where you spend your money. A debit card is, after all, just another tool in your personal banking plan. There are many times when cash, checks, or credit serves your purposes better than debit cards can.
Here is a list of the five top places not to use your debit cards when spending money.
Gas Station Pumps
There have been reported scams of con artists who use devices to grab information off our your debit card. They’ll insert the device into the slot you’d insert your debit card, pull off the data, and grab the numbers you input so they can access your card. Rather than use a debit card at the pump, you may want to go in and use cash, credit, or swipe the card at the counter instead.
Unencrypted Online Sites
If you don’t see the letters https:// preceding the URL for an online site when you are getting ready to make a purchase, it’s possible the site lacks the proper security for online transactions. That’s a good time to either go with another store or explore a different money option for payment- though I wouldn’t use credit cards here, either. In fact, it might be better to skip this online site entirely.
Renting a Car
Car rental places will require a deposit before you can rent the vehicle for a trip. That’ll mean the deposit is removed from your account, but put back at a later day. Not having that money available lowers your liquidity for emergencies and puts you at risk, if you aren’t careful, of being surprised by an overdraft fee. It would be better in that situation to use a credit card, one you have set aside specifically for these situations.
Places Lacking Privacy
If you can’t input your digits for a debit card in privacy, you may be putting your money and your card at risk. I would never make a purchase using a debit card if I didn’t think I could input the numbers with enough privacy to assure a secure purchase. A good example of a place lacking proper privacy might be a restaurant. For that reason, money might be a better option.
If you find yourself in a dispute with a merchant over an expensive purchase, you’ll find you have better protection with a credit card than with a debit card. Avoid using debit cards in these instances.