Debit cards are convenient ways to access your bank funds at virtually any location. They are backed by Visa and Mastercard, and can be used almost anywhere that you see the familiar logos. Unfortunately, with convenience also comes some drawbacks, so it’s important to know ways to keep your card safe.
Follow these 5 debit safety card tips and avoid situations that could turn you into a victim.
1. Review your checking account on a regular basis
Daily might be too often, but weekly or after a large spending spree should be a good idea. By checking your online account, you can find any errors or unauthorized purchases before the end of the statement cycle. Catching thieves quickly will usually end in better results. If you catch the problem immediately, a bank can put a hold on your card to prevent future purchases.
2. Periodically change your PIN number and banking passwords online
Nobody likes learning a new PIN number or password, but making an effort can really pay off. You should aim to change your password and PIN every quarter. Pick 4 numbers or 4 passwords to use and cycle through them. Matching your secret information to the seasons can help you remember it.
3. Never give your debit card to someone, not even a restaurant server
Paying your tab with your debit card is convenient, but once it leaves your eyesight, you can’t control who gathers the information. Servers are common sources of debit thievery because they have access to the cards. Once they have your debit card they will have the number, the expiration date and the security code on the back, which is enough to make an online purchase.
4. Consider using multiple checking accounts
If you can stand it, set up two checking accounts. Use one for bills such as the mortgage, rent and utilities and use the other for debit payments. Set up your direct deposit to go into your bill-paying account and transfer only what you need into your other debit account. This way, if you lose your card or the information is stolen, only the minimal amount of money will be available to be taken.
5. Avoid using ATMs at night or in unsafe locations
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should only use safe ATMs to minimize the risk of being held up. Also, the pin-reversal technique to thwart a robber is an urban legend, so don’t try it if you find yourself in that situation.
Being smart with your debit card can prevent a lot of financial headaches from happening. Always keep your number safe and keep your card within your eyesight.