5 Tips for Debit Card Safety

I remember when I got my first debit card. I was so excited, because watching my parents, and friends, use their debit cards, I saw how easy it was to pay for products and then move on. Plus, it was a safety guard from spending too much money, because if I wanted too, I could put a limit on what could be withdrawn from my card daily. However, even though the benefits of owning a debit card are great, there are also some pretty negative downfalls about using this form of payment.

Throughout my time of protecting my finances and becoming educated in financial safety, both in spending habits and account management. As I kept researching, I found out how easy it was for a thief to take your debit card and quickly spend vast amounts of money. This is why I have compiled a list of 5 tips for debit card safety.

Keep a sharp eye on your account, by checking on it online every day.
This is extremely important because your online bank statement will tell you any and all activity within your account. If you use your debit card a lot, make sure that you read through all of the transactions. This is because if you were to just check your account balance, you could skim over several important imperfections within your account. I, myself, caught a waiter trying to add several more dollars to his tip, and if I didn't go through and double-check all of my purchases, than I would of missed this.

Understand and be aware of your debit card's liability policy.
The importance of this tip is because you need to know exactly how you are protected from stolen money. As you are aware, many banks advertise that they have a "zero liability" policy with their debit cards. This is very similar to credit cards, because it means that you will not be liable for any fraudulent charges. However, what very few people actually understand is that this policy is usually only effective for signature debit card purchases that have the Visa or MasterCard logo. And if you are to honestly think back, you very rarely actually sign for a debit card purchase. This means that you could have hundreds missing from your account, but because it wasn't a signature purchase, there is nothing you can do. Make sure that your bank covers all types of debit card purchases, and not just signature purchases.

Keep a watchful eye on your debit card.
It is very important that you are fully aware of where your debit card is at all times, even during transactions. Whenever you had off your debit card to pay for an item, keep an eye of the person handling your card, because it is extremely easy for a person to steal the card information. Having a sense of awareness can eventually save you thousands of dollars.

Understand when you should NOT use your debit card.
There are several situations when it is not wise to pay using your debit card. Such as when you are buying something off of the Internet. It is always a better idea to pay for Online Items with your credit card, because it is easier to create a solve a dispute when you use a credit card. Also, it can take quite some time to get money back into your bank account than on your credit card. Plus, you usually get more online security when you use a credit card. Also, if you are planning on paying for car rentals, hotel stays or at gas pumps try using some other form of payment besides your debit card. This is because these type of purchases actually create a hold of funds in your bank account, where the company will set aside an amount of money until the purchase fully clears, which could end up taking days. This could be dangerous if you were to overdraw in your account.

Be conscious of your credit report.
If you have any suspicion that your debit card information was stolen, make sure you report the incident to the credit bureaus immediately. If you need to get your yearly credit report, you can access a complete credit report, free, from AnnualCreditReport.com - they will give you a free copy of your credit report once a year.