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Debit Card Safety 101

Debit cards are very popular with teens and young adults, but there’s a lot you need to know about debit card safety. When you make a purchase with a debit card, the money is taken out of your checking account instantly. If someone uses your card number fraudulently, you could be responsible for some or all of the charges.

According to Launch CU’s Electronic Funds Transfer Agreement and Disclosure, if you tell us within two business days you can lose no more than $50, if someone used your card fraudulently. If you do NOT tell us within two business days of learn about the loss, and we can prove that we could have stopped someone from using your card without your permission, you could lose as much as $500! If you do not tell us within 60 days after the statement was mailed to you, you may not get back any money lost after the 60 days. That is why it is so important for you to protect your card, and contact us if you have any problems. These debit card safety tips will help you keep your financial information out of the hands of crooks.

Debit Card Safety Tips

  1. Check Your Accounts Often. Time is of the essence to receive full fraud protection from your financial institution. Make a habit of reviewing your account online at least one a week, or even daily if you have time.
  2. Protect Your PIN Number. Don’t give your PIN number to anyone who asks, and do not keep it written down anywhere in your purse or wallet. Don’t use your PIN at the gas pump, rather use it in credit card mode. Using your debit card in credit card mode may offer you extra liability protection.
  3. Consider Avoiding Debit Card Use Online. Some consumers choose to use credit cards online since a fraudulent credit card transaction will take more time and can become an item of dispute rather than an instant removal of cash from your checking account. Check for a security symbol such as an unbroken key or padlock on each website before you order anything, because these symbols indicate that your purchase is being made on a secure site.
  4. Examine Any ATM Carefully. ATMS located in convenience stores, subway stations, airports, and other places have a greater risk of having a “skimming” device attached by a thief, which could store your debit card data. If the machine looks suspicious, don’t use it. Check to make sure the ATM is observed by surveillance cameras.
  5. Don’t Use Public Wireless Access For Financial Transactions. Make sure you are using a password protected WiFi signal to check your account balance, pay bills, and shop online so that crooks have less of a chance to capture your password and account information.
  6. Report Problems Immediately. While you would certainly report it right away if your wallet was stolen and your credit and debit cards went missing, you should also report any unauthorized transactions immediately. The faster you report the problem, the quicker you can cancel your debit card and prevent additional charges.
  7. Consider Filing A Police Report. If your debit card is stolen, you may want to contact the police so that you have extra support for disputing your transactions.

The Bottom Line:

While you may find constantly using a debit card to be a great convenience, it won’t be that convenient should someone manage to drain your checking account. A little bit of vigilance and new habits on your part can go a long way in terms of preventing fraud and a damaging debit card experience.

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