What’s wrong with debit?
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Debit might seem great because there’s no chance of spending more than you have or risking steep overdraft fees, but the stakes are also higher when it comes to fraud. For one thing, debit cards take cash straight from your bank account, while credit cards give you time to look at your charges. “A credit card is more like a loan,” says Mason Wilder, research specialist at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. “You have more time to dispute charges before any actual funds of yours go out.” Plus, the Fair Credit Billing Act only leaves you legally liable to up to $50 on a credit card, and the four major credit card companies all have zero liability, says credit expert John Ulzheimer, president of The Ulzheimer Group. If you are a victim of debit card fraud, though, you could be out up to $500—especially if you swipe at these risky places. Here’s why debit cards are just one of the many things you should never, ever keep in your purse.
At independent ATMs
Thieves use all sorts of tricks to steal your identity. Sometimes, they sneak devices called skimmers into ATMs to steal your information when you stick your card in. If you do need to get cash, your best bet is to go inside a bank instead of finding one on the street or in a convenience store, says Wilder. Officers and security cameras keep a watchful eye at banks, but there’s no guarantee an ATM with less security is a prime spot for thieves. “Even if it’s not your bank, you’re at a lower risk for fraud,” says Wilder. “If you have to pay a fee anyway, it’s safer to use a bank’s.” Here’s how hackers steal information from ATMs without skimmers.