Paying with your debit card might seem like a responsible move.
After all, getting in the habit of whipping out your credit card whenever you have to make a purchase might lead to overspending.
But from a security standpoint, paying with a credit card is actually the better move.
By the end of this year, credit and debit card fraud is expected to reach $33B globally. While a criminal can steal your credit card just as easily as they can steal your debit card, the consequences are different.
Debit cards are not as well protected as credit cards. And since your debit card is linked to your bank account, anyone with your debit card information can have access to all your funds.
Whereas credit card transactions usually don’t get billed until later, the damages are handled differently. If you’re a victim of debit card theft, depending on your situation, you can be held liable for significant losses, especially if you don’t report the fraud fast enough.
These are the top 10 places you want to leave your debit card in your wallet:
1. Online Shopping
Don’t use a debit card online. If you have a problem with a payment and your card gets hijacked, you risk losing a large chunk of your money.
2. Big-ticket items
Whenever you’re making a big purchase, try to put it on a credit card if you have the room. Why? Credit cards offer dispute rights in case something goes wrong with the purchase.
3. Giving a deposit
Anytime you’re renting tools or need to put down a cash deposit for something, always use your credit card. If something goes wrong or the merchant decides they’re going to keep your deposit when they shouldn’t, you have no way of fighting if you pay by debit card.
Many restaurants will bring a payment machine to your table, but there are still places that will take your card to the back and run the payment through.
You never know if a restaurant is going to scam you so it’s best to keep your debit card in plain sight.
5. New stores
If a new store opens up in your neighborhood, avoid using a debit card for the first few times you shop there. You might not know the quality of the goods you’re purchasing and if there’s any chance you have to return something, a credit card will provide you with more rights as a consumer.
6. Items Being Delivered Later
Ordering furniture or large televisions that you pay for in store and will be delivered later are prime suspects for fraud. It’s best to use a credit card for the same consumer protection reasons mentioned above.
7. Recurring Payments
There’s no doubt getting billed automatically makes life easier but what happens when you want to cancel a membership and the payments keep coming out? Never link your bank account to a recurring payment, always use a credit card.
8. Future Travel
Trips can be expensive so it’s best to use a credit card and give yourself a longer window to pay down the balance. If you use your debit card, you’re out of the total balance right away.
Most hotels will place holds on your card to cover unexpected costs or expenses that don’t immediately show up on your itemized bill. Always use a credit card for this in case charges show up that shouldn’t be there.
10. ATMs and Pay-at-the-Pump Gas Stations
Lastly, avoid using your debit card at non bank-affiliated ATMs and pay-at-the pump gas stations. These places are usually poorly monitored so criminals prey on people in these environments.