How to Reduce Risks when using Debit Cards

Debit cards have become one of the most popular modes of payments at shops, restaurants, purchasing air tickets, booking hotels or even when purchasing on-line. However, as certain experts point out, debit cards are one of the most unsafe financial instruments available and each year debit card related losses amount to millions of dollars and the trend is gradually rising. Therefore, it is the right time for everyone to understand how to reduce risks when using debit cards and practice safe measures when using the same.

-Protect the PIN

According to industry experts, the unsafe use of the PIN code is one major issue when it comes to debit card security. Many people write down their PIN codes in a piece of paper and keep it in an unsafe place. To make matters worse, some may opt to keep it in their wallets along with the debit cards or even write the PIN code on the surface of the debit card. In any event, losing the PIN code or losing the code along with the card both can increase the risk of theft and forgery. Therefore, the best way to use the PIN code should be to destroy the paper with the PIN code after memorizing the number. At the same time, avoiding giving the number to anyone else including the family members should also be a good idea to practice in the future.

-Avoid using debit cards to make on-line payments

Another instance where one could reduce the risk of using debit cards is to avoid using the same for making on-line payments. Thus, the best mode of payment in the Internet should be the credit cards or else to use on-line payment sites such as the Pay-Pal.

-Do not respond to emails requesting debit card information

Responding to emails requesting debit card details is another way of increasing the debit card risks and therefore should always be vigilant when responding to emails allegedly received from ones financial institution.  As a rule of thumb, one should know that, a legitimate financial institution or a retailer should definitely not request information such as the user-names, passwords, PIN codes…etc through email or over the phone.

-Check the financial statements very closely

Checking ones financial statement thoroughly for suspicious transactions and report such instances to the issuer of the debit card is a safe bet when it comes to preventing further losses and minimizing ones liability towards the losses that has already taken place. If such fraudulent transactions go unnoticed, it may be difficult to trace later and the card owner may have to bare the entire loss.

-Beware of the card skimmers

Knowing the presence of card skimmers, that can steal the personal information contained in the card and clone a duplicate, should also make one vigilant when he or she use the debit card in an ATM or at any other card reader in the future. These devices placed at the mouth of the card readers can capture the information in a split second and allow a third party to clone a new card. Thus, the owner of a debit card should be vigilant when inserting their cards into unusual reading devices and should always cover their PIN at the time of punching it in.

If these steps can be followed and care can be taken not to lose or misplace debit cards, it is possible for them to be used safely and therefore minimize the chances of losing hard earned money due to pure negligence.