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The Danger of Debit Cards

November 4, 2013
Plain English Version

Your debit card is an open door to your checking account. Any number of people and places can walk through it and clean out your account.

Experts say do not use your debit card in risky places. Using it for online purchases is risky. Malware in your computer can make the number available to others. Merchants can place the card number in less-than-secure databases.

Giving the card to a server at a restaurant removes it from your sight. The card can be run though a skimmer. The information on it will then be available to others. Gas stations and outdoor ATMs also are places where criminals can use devices to swipe information from your card.

Even reputable merchants can be hacked. Thieves’ invaded Michaels craft store terminals.

Using credit cards is much safer. You can set limits on how much can be charged on the card. Text messages or email alerts will warn you if someone is using your card for large purchases, and placing charges which are beyond the limits you have set.

Most importantly, you are not liable for charges you did not make. You do not have to pay disputed charges while they are being examined.

Experts point out that debit cards do not improve your credit scores. Using a credit card carefully can help your scores. Improving your credit score can save you money when you apply for loans and pay insurance premiums. If you can, pay the full amount due each month.

Finally, Payday loan shops and other high-interest lenders can get access to your checking accounts. Some banks work along with these lenders in charging fees for late payments and overdrafts.

Debit card users beware.

Source: The Los Angeles Times                                                                                          October 20, 2013

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