Debit Cards: Are They Safe Enough?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Debit cards are convenient in use but what if your debit card information is stolen? Will it be more damaging than having your credit card information stolen?

If your credit card number is stolen by identity thieves, they just have access to your credit card account. The worst thing that happens is that your credit card will be charged up to the limit, in which case you simply use cash to pay for things until you resolve the situation. It doesn’t cause any disastrous life problems.

On the other hand, if your debit card number is stolen by an identity thief, they have access to your checking account. And this may cause some major problems if you don’t resolve it immediately.

Here, checks can bounce, overdraft costs can occur, and bills don’t get paid. And the culmination of it can be complete absence of money on your checking account at moments when you really need it.

The convenience of the debit card may be risky. And if you want to minimize (or preferably eliminate) the chance that an identity thief can directly access your checking account try to follow these simple tips:

Try to use cash wherever possible. There’s no way any identity theft can occur.

Use a single credit card for different situations. Have one credit card that you use for online purchases and for situations where cash is unavailable for purchases. It can be a credit card which is tied to the retailer you use most often so you can maximize the “rewards” you get for using that card.

Pay off that credit card in full each month. Whenever that credit card bill comes in, try to pay the entire balance on that card. Any money left on that credit card balance just costs you more money.

If you want to avoid identity theft at all costs, the most effective way to do that is to minimize the places where you share sensitive identity information. If you do share such information, this should be the information that can be tightly contained and separated from direct access to your money.

Be sensible with your cards and you can minimize the impact identity theft can have on you.

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