What precautions should you take if you have a debit card?

If your bank has issued a debit card for you, there are some things you should know before you get into trouble. Here are simple steps you can take to safeguard your card and take advantage of it without putting the money in your bank account at risk. What precautions should you take?

A debit card also called a “check card” or a "bank card," is a payment card that deducts money directly from a consumer's checking account when it is used. They can be used to buy goods or services or to get cash from an ATM machine.  This is why it is a very practical solution, many times when the lack of cash might surprise you. What precautions should you take if you have decided to have a debit card?

Using your debit card to make purchases online is very practical but it can also have great risks

Your card and the information that is associated with your checking account are constantly at risk, so every time you use your card at a store or on the Internet, this information could be used by criminals. Learn how this can happen and how you can avoid it.

The first and most obvious problem is if your card is physically stolen. If this happens, you must call the bank immediately and inform the situation. You can’t be held liable for anything that is charged to your card after you have reported the theft, so you must do this at once.

Nowadays, however, that isn’t the only way your information can be stolen. Criminals can also access your information if they hack a website where your debit card information was stored and, once they have your banking data, make purchases online or on the phone. This is why it is important to regularly check the movements of your bank account and call the bank as soon as you find a purchase that you have not made.

The last way in which your credit card information can be stolen is through card skimming. This happens when your card is put through a card reader (at a gas station or restaurant when you give your card to someone) or if a skimmer is attached to an ATM (or any vending machine) where you use your card.

Look carefully at the ATM to see that there is nothing strange about it, and cover your hand so that your key cannot be seen.

 It may not be easy to detect these skimmers so it is important that you pay attention to anything that doesn’t look familiar. An additional precaution you can take is to cover your hands when you type your password to avoid any camera that may be filming the numbers you enter.

The bank will hold you liable for any purchase you don’t inform within 60 days so you can see why checking your account for transactions you haven’t done is something you should do regularly.

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