For hackers and thieves, your debit card is an easy target. Protect your hard-earned money by learning how to use a debit card safely.
Every time I pull my debit card out, I take a risk. Just a week ago, I left it at a Chicago coffee shop; when I returned an hour later, the barista handed it to me. I had no idea I’d even left it there. That barista got a nice tip — she was an honest person. But what if she wasn’t?
Until U.S. card issuers adopt data-encrypted microchips — which have been used in Europe and other parts of the world for years — our debit cards are in peril. No matter America’s status as the birthplace of the iPhone and the cradle of high-tech: When it comes to our debit cards, we’re still in the Stone Age. It’s that simple.
So how can you protect your debit cards — and yourself? Here are seven tips that explain how to use a debit card safely:
1. Move from debit cards to credit cards.
2. The instant you discover your debit card is missing, cancel it.
3. Use cash.
4. Watch for skimming devices.
5. Keep an eye on your balances.
6. Subscribe to "alerts" from your bank or credit union.
7. Migrate your debit information to a mobile payment service