Debit cards are very common these days and chances are that if you already have a bank account then you have a debit card too. These cards work at ATMs for cash withdrawal but you can also use them online, at Point of Sales and get various offers and discounts as well depending on the agreements of their bank with various vendors. When it comes to debit cards you’re spending your own money and don’t owe the bank anything neither is there any payment deadlines hence some people prefer it as their choice of plastic money over a credit card.
However with all the ease of use that debit cards provide, there are a certain precautions that one should take at all times and there are certain places where using your debit card might not be a good idea as you risk your account being compromised which means putting all your available funds at risk too. Below we will mention a few scenarios in which you should be careful not to use your debit card:
Out of Sight PoS:
You should beware of places where you give your card to the sales person to be swiped somewhere else such as at fuel stations or restaurants. The reason behind this is that you could become a victim of skimming hence always make sure that the cards are swiped infront of you or use a credit card to pay at such places if it’s inevitable.
It’s also a wise idea not to use your debit card for online transactions as you expose your personal account details tied to your own funds in every transaction. Also unlike credit cards there’s no credit limit that can be exhausted hence your total funds could be compromised. Also when you use credit cards it’s easier to report frauds as it’s the banks money that you’re lending so the bank is responsible to counter any frauds or losses and issue refunds. There’s also a due date for your bill payment till which any issues or disputes between the merchant and card holder can be resolved. However in debit cards all these safety measures are unavailable. Also if you run into any fraud using your debit card and block the account then it’ll be another hassle for you as you’ll be unable to access your own funds for a certain period of time and you’ll have to resort to withdrawal from cheques until you get your replacement debit card issued.
Using debit cards at places where you’re buying good from a merchant is also not a good idea. The underlying reason is that if by mistake you get a faulty or wrong product, or the product is not the same as advertised and you wish to get a refund, then it will not be as easy as with a credit card. It’s also pertinent to mention here that the refund duration varies from 1-15 days depending on the merchant, merchandise and the location of the transaction i.e if it’s done locally or internationally. During this tenure your own available funds will be affected for the time being. Hence using a credit card is a better option
It’s also advisable not to use your debit card at foreign tourist locations because some locations still use the Magnetic stripe instead of the newer Chip and Pin system which means that you’re more vulnerable as using a debit card at point of sales where the card is swiped instead of dipped can lead to your own funds being at risk. Credit cards are safer to use while traveling abroad as you’re borrowing money from the bank and you know you’ll be spending within a specific limit hence it doesn’t make sense to expose your private bank account details that are tied to your own funds.
If you follow the above tips you can make safe, secure and hassle free transactions using the right card for the right place. If you have any feedback let us know the comments section below.