Securing Your Credit or Debit Card from Theft This Holiday Shopping Season

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Updated: December 3rd, 2011
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

This holiday season it’s important to be aware of your finances, including your credit and debit card. With thieves lurking, it’s important to protect the thing most important to you — your wallet.

Ok so we all know that sometimes losing your credit card either accidentally or through theft happens but how do you avoid becoming a victim of stolen plastic cards especially during the holiday season? Studies have shown that credit and debit card theft surges by approximately 19 percent during this time of the year, which means you will have to be extra alert in order to be able to hold onto your card safely or at least suffer minimal repercussions if you actually end up becoming a victim. Firstly, it’s important to know that according to the law people who lose their credit cards get charged a liability of not more than $50, which is aimed at preventing consumers from being held liable for expenses incurred on their cards by unauthorized third parties.

However people with debit cards are relatively not very protected by the law. It’s true that they will be held liable for nothing more than $50 if they get into contact with their banks to report the stolen card within two business days but this amount surges to an unbelievable $500 when banks are not alerted within that period. Debit card holders who fail to report theft of their cards stand the risk of being held liable for the maximum amount spent on their cards by unauthorized third parties if the card loss is not reported within 60 days.

So the golden rule is to get into contact with your bank as soon as you realize that your credit or debit card has been stolen while filing a police report in addition gives credence to your case and may make investigations smoother. However don’t forget that taking this step doesn’t protect you entirely from some of the disadvantages that come with being a victim of plastic card theft. Firstly, just because you have informed the bank of your stolen card doesn’t mean it will get replaced overnight and restore your access to money. Various inquiries will be conducted into your claims and until that is concluded; you will have to live without the use of a plastic card. This means you may have problems paying your bills and other necessities in life if you don’t have enough savings until your card gets replaced and that could result in major problems with access to important elements in your life.

Another thing to keep in mind is that getting your card replaced after theft comes with charges that cost from $5-$20 depending on how quick you want access to your card.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

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