Many people like using their debit card for everything. After all, it’s pretty much like paying with cash, as the money comes automatically from your bank account, and it stops you from getting wrapped up in potential credit card debt.
Having said that, in some situations, using your debit card can be risky and opens you up to criminals and fraudulent activity on your bank account.
Below are five circumstances that Money Talks News urges to use a credit card, or simply cash, when it comes to a transaction.
5. Online Purchases
As per the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it’s safer to use a credit card while shopping online, versus your debit, as cyber criminals can drain your account immediately with a debit card number. In this instance, credit cards also offer protection under the “Fair Credit Bill Act” where consumers can dispute billing errors, and even hold off on payment until an investigation is complete.
4. Gas Pumps
As per Visa, approximately just over one percent of payment fraud across American happens at gas station pumps, thanks to card skimmers. For those that may not be aware, skimmers are card readers that are illegal and can be attached to pumps, via criminals, fairly easy. Gas station pumps are so attractive as many gas station employees don’t monitor these areas, and therefore, they can place them quickly on a pump, copy a ton of debit numbers, drain accounts, and get away with it.
3. Eating out
Unless your waiter brings a handheld system to your table, it’s recommended to refrain from using your debit credit when out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Should you lay your debit out on the table and lose sight of it for mere moments, the card could end up in a skimmer before you know it, and then it’s game over. In general, you should never let your debit card out of your sight for this very same reason.
2. High-End Purchases
This is more for your own protection when and if the issue arises where you need to return an item that you’ve placed a good chunk of money towards. A fine example of this is having new furniture delivered, only to find it dirty or damaged upon arrival. If you pay with your credit card, thanks to the Fair Credit Bill Act, you can dispute the transaction, if the company you bought the high-end item with is making it difficult for you. If you pay with debit, you may not be that lucky, should something like this pop up.
5. Independent ATMs
Much like the gas pumps, free-standing ATM machines (i.e. like the ones you find at a convenience store) aren’t always monitored, as they are at banks; meaning they are easy targets for criminals to swoop in and comprise them with skimmers.
Derek Lebert is a CPA and entrepreneur. Derek has worked in various senior roles in finance.