Financial Fundamentals Blog

Guarding Your Finances: A Deep Dive into Debit Card Security

woman paying for her order with her debit card at the counter



While using debit cards is a good practice to avoid credit card debt, the truth is that debit cards are just as vulnerable to theft as credit cards are and offer limited protection against fraud. Today, we’re digging into debit card security and what you can do to protect your finances.


Why Are Debit Cards Vulnerable?

It’s become second nature to hand over a debit card when making a purchase, and many  businesses have gone cashless. You’re likely not thinking about the level of protection your payment method offers when you’re making a transaction, but here’s why you should.


Debit cards are more vulnerable to scammers and fraudsters; this is because account monitoring generally isn’t as thorough for debit cards as it is for credit cards. Credit card systems have more thorough purchase histories on cardholders, so they’re more likely to recognize a suspicious transaction. Debit cards, however, can only rely on the transaction history of the cardholder through that particular bank. The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself.


How To Protect Yourself Against Scams and Fraud

The stakes of debit card fraud are high because your entire account can be wiped out. Additionally, if it’s not caught and reported in time, it can be difficult to get your money back. Here are some steps you can take to protect your checking account from theft.


Monitor Your Statements

Make it a habit to frequently check your checking account statements. If checking your statements daily can seem like too much, aim for at least once or twice a week. A mobile banking app and eStatements can make this practice much easier. Remember—you may be more likely to receive full fraud protection if you alert your bank or credit union to theft shortly after it has occurred.


Protect Your PIN

Don’t give anyone your PIN, even if they ask for it. If possible, use your debit card in the credit purchase function when making a transaction to avoid anyone seeing your PIN. For extra protection, memorize your PIN instead of having it written down in your purse or wallet.


Use a Credit Card When Possible

Consider using a credit card to make purchases online. If there is theft, you may be protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act, and the money in your checking account won’t be completely depleted the way it could be with a debit card. To avoid racking up debt and interest by using your credit card, pay the amount of the transaction as soon as possible.


Be Alert for Common Scams

Stay up-to-date on some of the most common scams nationwide and in your area. This can help you quickly identify suspicious requests. One of the most common attempts to steal your information is known as phishing.


Phishing is an attempt to get you to reveal personal information in the hopes that you’ll hand over your checking account information, Social Security number or birth date. The attempt could range from someone posing as a family member requesting a wire transfer to someone asking you to click a link in an email to confirm certain information.


To protect yourself against these common theft attempts, keep an eye out for misspellings, incorrect website URLs or logos and generic requests for information. Don’t click on suspicious links or send any of your financial or personal information through email or a wire transfer.


Avoid Using Public WiFi for Financial Transactions

Having quick access to your mobile banking app is handy, but think twice before checking it using public WiFi. Use password-protected wireless to check your accounts if you need to. That way, hackers will have a harder time capturing your account information.


Explore Greater Debit Card Security

At 7 17 Credit Union, security is a top priority. To help keep our members’ accounts secure, we offer our Rewards Debit Card with the added protection of free fraud text alerts that deliver a real-time text message when fraud is suspected, enabling quicker response to address the fraudulent transaction. Explore our fraud protection and many of the other benefits of our Rewards Debit Card today.


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