The debit card has certainly made life easier for many of us. It has also made us more comfortable. The debit card combines the convenience of a credit card with the "safety" of a checking account. No longer is it necessary to worry about racking up debt and high interest rates as a penalty for the convenience of using plastic to make our purchases. Unfortunately, however, debit cards have a major drawback: they are not subject to the protections that come with credit cards.
When it comes to identity fraud, credit cards have a variety of protections built in. As long as you catch it quickly and make an effort to clear it up immediately, you are only liable for up to $50 when it comes to fraudulent charges on your credit card. Not so with your debt card. Not only do the fraudulent charges come right out of your bank account almost instantly, but you may also be liable for every penny, no matter how quickly you try to clear things up. Although it is worth noting that some banks are more generous with their policies.
Swiping Your PIN
A newer development in the identity theft war is swiping your personal identification number (PIN) right from the store´s system. When you use a debit card and enter your PIN, the store´s computer system has to transmit it in order to get proper authorization. This means that the information is vulnerable. An identity thief with the right equipment on his or her laptop can capture your card number and PIN right out of the air and use it to wreak all sorts of havoc. Many can make fake ATM cards with that information and then withdraw large amounts of cash from the nearest ATM.
Using the credit card instead
You can avoid many pitfalls by using your credit card instead of your debit card, especially online. In fact, it is much better to use your credit card to make online purchases that it is to use your debit card. If a third party intercepts your information, you can protect yourself better that way. Just make sure that you pay off what you spend each month.
Another thing you can do is to tell cashiers, when they ask "debit or credit?" is that you are using a credit card, even if it is a debit card. Since debit cards work like credit cards, this is a good way to avoid using your PIN and giving that information away.