Credit and Debit card safety

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
User avatar
Topic Author
tc101
Posts: 3106
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Credit and Debit card safety

Post by tc101 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:54 am

I only use a credit card for gas and groceries. For gas I have to enter my zip code, but for groceries I just put the card in the reader and I am done. I have not made any large purchase with a credit card in years, but I assume it is the same as groceries, that you can buy a $1000 TV by just sticking the card in the reader with no password or anything.

I carry my FIDO cash management debit card with me to take money out of ATMs. If my wallet was stolen, could someone use that FIDO debit card and go on a spending spree and drain thousands of dollars from my FIDO account? I know you are supposed to be able to get things like that refunded, but I have read it can be much more trouble with a stolen debit card than a stolen credit card.

What is your safety strategy? Do you carry a debit card with you?
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

Jags4186
Posts: 3353
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:57 am

tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:54 am
I only use a credit card for gas and groceries. For gas I have to enter my zip code, but for groceries I just put the card in the reader and I am done. I have not made any large purchase with a credit card in years, but I assume it is the same as groceries, that you can buy a $1000 TV by just sticking the card in the reader with no password or anything.

I carry my FIDO cash management debit card with me to take money out of ATMs. If my wallet was stolen, could someone use that FIDO debit card and go on a spending spree and drain thousands of dollars from my FIDO account? I know you are supposed to be able to get things like that refunded, but I have read it can be much more trouble with a stolen debit card than a stolen credit card.

What is your safety strategy? Do you carry a debit card with you?
Yes I carry my debit card with me since I sometimes need to take out money. If someone steals your debit card, as long as they do not have your PIN they will not be able to go and take money out of an ATM. They would be able to make a purchase by selecting “credit” at checkout at a normal register. In that case you’d need to file a fraud claim with your bank. I personally am not really worried about being pick pocketed. I figure I would notice relatively quickly if my wallet were stolen. I never buy anything with my debit card—it only goes in ATM machines.

Edit:

Most debit cards have a daily limit on purchases—usually in the $1000-$2500 range. You could always call your bank and ask them to make that very low—$100 or $200 so if the worst did happen its a minor annoyance getting your money back and not a “how am I going to make my mortgage payment” scenario.
Last edited by Jags4186 on Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Summit111
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:32 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Summit111 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:58 am

NEVER use debit cards for purchases. Only at the issuing banks ATM. As you pointed out, someone could easily drain your account.

Summit

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:59 am

You answered your own questions.

Debit cards are less safe than credit cards. With a credit card, they're not taking your money, that you have to get restored. While a bank may put it all back, that takes time, and meanwhile you don't have your money.

Credit cards often provided benefits like Cashback, Extended Warranties (Citi adds 2 years to virtually all warranties), etc., debit cards rarely have these features.

Where I can, I turn off debit card features to only include cash withdrawal from an ATM. If they can't turn it off, I ask if they have a limit I can impose for transactions, such as $1.00.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

HomeStretch
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:02 am

I prefer credit card over debit card. There are better consumer protection laws for credit cards than there are for debit cards. That said, most friends who have been hit with debit card fraud have anecdotally said their financial institution made them whole...eventually.

User avatar
Topic Author
tc101
Posts: 3106
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by tc101 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am

I am wondering about the use of cash in general. If I don't use cash I don't need to carry a debit card to get cash out of an ATM. I used to think that cash was quicker and easier, but since I started using my credit card at the grocery I see that is easier than counting out money and getting cash. Are there people here who never use cash?

But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

User avatar
beyou
Posts: 2582
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Northeastern US

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by beyou » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:30 am

I always ask my bank to give me an ATM-only card, not debit cards. I can buy all I want on my credit cards.
I have had credit card numbers stolen online at least a couple of times, just weeks ago and years ago as well.
If you use your debit card for online purchases, as if it's a credit card, same could happen but yes would drain your mmkt/checking acct.

For young persons or those with bad credit, a debit card is a great alternative if you can't get a high credit limit on your credit cards,
another convenient spending option. But if you keep lots in your bank/mmkt brokerage account, I would not have a debit card linked to it.
Or at least don't use the debit card so nobody has access the number online nor physical card.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:32 am

tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
I am wondering about the use of cash in general. If I don't use cash I don't need to carry a debit card to get cash out of an ATM. I used to think that cash was quicker and easier, but since I started using my credit card at the grocery I see that is easier than counting out money and getting cash. Are there people here who never use cash?

But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
I never use cash. On a recent vacation, I paid $4 per person to climb an observation tower and $2 for tips to the driver of the courtesy van at the airport parking.

I put every transaction possible on my credit cards, and get 2% or more cash back. Every possible transaction.

I keep my receipts, and I enter them (or download and verify) in Quicken. When my credit card bill comes, Quicken has me put in the date, the amount that the statement shows paid (last payment, refunds), and the amount spent, along with balance owed. I then click and it either totals to zero, meaning everything matches up with the transactions it found, or it shows me a discrepancy and I figure out what it might be.

I have every credit card, and every bank account, send me an email or text (I prefer email) for every single transaction, thereby I would catch fraud immediately. Most send the email before you walk from checkout to your car.

Counting out cash also makes you a target for the observant criminal. I pointed that out to my late 80s FIL, who would open his bulging wallet and meticulously count out every dollar, which basically giving everyone near him a bird's eye view of his stash. Then he slowly walk to his car. I convinced him to switch to a credit card.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

User avatar
CyberBob
Posts: 3246
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:53 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by CyberBob » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:34 am

tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
That's actually why I've started using cash more often. I hated at the end of the month to get a pages-long credit card bill and then feeling like I had to sort through a million little paper receipts to match up the charges. With cash, I hand it over and the transaction is done and I don't have to think about it again.

Freefun
Posts: 461
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Freefun » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:41 am

I rarely use cash or debit cards. Also many chase banks ATMs no longer require the physical card as they can use the card in digital wallet e.g. Apple wallet.
I also find Apple Pay useful.

If I need to rely on debit cards such as international trips I set appropriate limits on my cards.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

User avatar
Topic Author
tc101
Posts: 3106
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:18 pm
Location: Atlanta - Retired in 2004 at age 54

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by tc101 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:41 am

I have every credit card, and every bank account, send me an email or text (I prefer email) for every single transaction, thereby I would catch fraud immediately. Most send the email before you walk from checkout to your car.
That might be the best solution. I didn't even know that option was available. Can you do it on the credit card website, or do you have to call to set it up?
. | The most important thing you should know about me is that I am not an expert.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:44 am

tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:41 am
I have every credit card, and every bank account, send me an email or text (I prefer email) for every single transaction, thereby I would catch fraud immediately. Most send the email before you walk from checkout to your car.
That might be the best solution. I didn't even know that option was available. Can you do it on the credit card website, or do you have to call to set it up?
Simply sign onto the website for your card(s) and setup alerts. I can't imagine they'd do it over the phone.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 3198
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:45 am

CyberBob wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:34 am
tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
That's actually why I've started using cash more often. I hated at the end of the month to get a pages-long credit card bill and then feeling like I had to sort through a million little paper receipts to match up the charges. With cash, I hand it over and the transaction is done and I don't have to think about it again.
A simple matter of being more organized. Multiply your annual spending x 2% back, or more. I earn many hundreds of dollars a year.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

sport
Posts: 8067
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by sport » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:48 am

I do not want a debit card for the reasons outlined above. If you feel you need a debit card, it should be attached to a separate account for that purpose, and keep a limited amount in that account. I have an ATM only card. I use a credit card whenever I can, and get several hundred dollars in rebates every year. I keep the receipts, and check them against the bill. It takes less than 5 minutes, and I am comfortable that I am not being cheated. I recently had my credit card number stolen. The bank noticed an unusual spending pattern, and contacted me to see if the charge was mine. When I told them it was not, they asked me about every charge for the previous two or three weeks and I identified two more fraudulent charges. All three charges were removed from my account and I had a new card, with a new number, the next morning.

User avatar
CyberBob
Posts: 3246
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:53 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by CyberBob » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:52 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:45 am
CyberBob wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:34 am
tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
That's actually why I've started using cash more often. I hated at the end of the month to get a pages-long credit card bill and then feeling like I had to sort through a million little paper receipts to match up the charges. With cash, I hand it over and the transaction is done and I don't have to think about it again.
A simple matter of being more organized. Multiply your annual spending x 2% back, or more. I earn many hundreds of dollars a year.
Actually, it's a simple matter of being lazy :D
I was cash-free for probably 10 years before this latest cash dalliance. It's true that I am missing out on like $20 a month in cash-back.
I'll probably go back to plastic, as I notice that counting change is starting to annoy me. Another type of lazy, I suppose. :wink:

Jags4186
Posts: 3353
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:32 pm

CyberBob wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:34 am
tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
That's actually why I've started using cash more often. I hated at the end of the month to get a pages-long credit card bill and then feeling like I had to sort through a million little paper receipts to match up the charges. With cash, I hand it over and the transaction is done and I don't have to think about it again.
There’s no need to match receipts. Just set your account to send you a notification text or email whenever a charge is made. Then you know if there is ever a fraudulent charge because you’ll get a random email for something you didn’t do.

sport
Posts: 8067
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by sport » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:43 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:32 pm
CyberBob wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:34 am
tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
That's actually why I've started using cash more often. I hated at the end of the month to get a pages-long credit card bill and then feeling like I had to sort through a million little paper receipts to match up the charges. With cash, I hand it over and the transaction is done and I don't have to think about it again.
There’s no need to match receipts. Just set your account to send you a notification text or email whenever a charge is made. Then you know if there is ever a fraudulent charge because you’ll get a random email for something you didn’t do.
You could get a charge for a purchase you actually made, but the amount may not be correct. This is especially true for restaurants where you add the tip at the time you sign the charge authorization.

gr7070
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:39 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by gr7070 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:57 pm

I have *zero* safety strategy for credit cards. You already have a huge safety aspect by limited liability.

I have never, ever heard of anyone losing money from fraudulent charges. Any thought spent worrying about credit card safety/liability is wasted thought.

Broken Man 1999
Posts: 2508
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:08 pm

I have never used a debit card. Any debit card was converted to an ATM card only.

Any place that will accept a credit card is paid via credit card.

I have every transaction on credit cards send me an email, so I always know if a charge is legit when I review my credit card statements. Over the years a transaction that appears fraudulent more times than not drops off, as a mistake has been made.

Most charges are on my 2% rewards cards, unless a better reward card use is possible, like restaurants, big box stores, and revolving categories like with Discover card.

My wife prefers debit cards, despite me attempting to encourage her to use a credit card where possible. Different strokes for different folks.

Thing is after so long using credit cards, a fraudulent charge sticks out like a sore thumb to me. I don't have scads of charges, the bills are pretty consistant, so not difficult to manage.

I just never wanted to keep tabs of my checking account as close as it would be needed if I used a debit card. No thanks!

Works for me. There is always plenty of time to review a credit card statement before payment is due.

I have fraudulent charges very rarely that stick, but have never had an issue with getting them cleared off before I paid my legit bill.

My credit union states they treat credit cards and debit cards the same, but I never saw any reason to test their assurances.

Credit cards, YES!
Debit cards, NOPE!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

User avatar
yangtui
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:32 pm
Contact:

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by yangtui » Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:29 pm

Credit for everything, even at extremely sketchy self checkout kiosks. I spot check activity online every couple of days. As long as my monthly spending stays within a certain range I am winning the game. What I get in rewards on an annual basis and the convenience of not worrying about carrying cash more than makes up for any small amount that might have flown under the radar when spot checking.

GAAP
Posts: 850
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:41 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by GAAP » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:01 pm

You could always contact your bank to limit the debit capability -- Schwab does that if you ask. Cash Withdrawal limits and debit limits can be different.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2705
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:19 pm

sport wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:43 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:32 pm
CyberBob wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:34 am
tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:24 am
But if I used the credit card for every little purchase, would the credit card bill be so big and confusing that I might not notice fraudulent charges?
That's actually why I've started using cash more often. I hated at the end of the month to get a pages-long credit card bill and then feeling like I had to sort through a million little paper receipts to match up the charges. With cash, I hand it over and the transaction is done and I don't have to think about it again.
There’s no need to match receipts. Just set your account to send you a notification text or email whenever a charge is made. Then you know if there is ever a fraudulent charge because you’ll get a random email for something you didn’t do.
You could get a charge for a purchase you actually made, but the amount may not be correct. This is especially true for restaurants where you add the tip at the time you sign the charge authorization.
This recently happened to me on a CC charge in a restaurant. First time that I can remember or noticed.

I didn't hesitate to use a CC the next time I paid for a meal. Restaurants are practically the only place where I even bother to get a CC receipt for my purchases these days.

I don't use debit cards at all. The vast majority of my spending is done via CC.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 8343
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:24 pm

I agree about safety, and asking for the debit card purchase limit to be lowered. I used to have it at $1, but due to a change in a service facility I use, without going into detail, I had it raised to $20. I log in to that bank daily so I'd notice. It would take a very patient thief to get rich selling somebody $20 worth of ill-gotten merchandise per day.

In my neighborhood there are several businesses that are still cash only. Another took advantage of, I think a recent decision in state court, to impose a $3.99 service charge on all transactions, but to give a $3.99 courtesy credit to cash buyers.

PJW

Eno Deb
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:08 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by Eno Deb » Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:41 pm

GAAP wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:01 pm
You could always contact your bank to limit the debit capability -- Schwab does that if you ask. Cash Withdrawal limits and debit limits can be different.
Note that more and more banks allow setting debit card limits via app (e.g. Ally has the "Card Control" app, and BofA recently added it to their main app). I use this to disable purchases on my debit cards. Even if I did find myself in a situation where I have to use the card for a purchase, I can re-enable that in seconds. But normally I only use credit cards, and tips are pretty much the only thing I use cash for these days.

criticalmass
Posts: 1010
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by criticalmass » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:06 pm

tc101 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:54 am
I only use a credit card for gas and groceries. For gas I have to enter my zip code, but for groceries I just put the card in the reader and I am done. I have not made any large purchase with a credit card in years, but I assume it is the same as groceries, that you can buy a $1000 TV by just sticking the card in the reader with no password or anything.

I carry my FIDO cash management debit card with me to take money out of ATMs. If my wallet was stolen, could someone use that FIDO debit card and go on a spending spree and drain thousands of dollars from my FIDO account? I know you are supposed to be able to get things like that refunded, but I have read it can be much more trouble with a stolen debit card than a stolen credit card.

What is your safety strategy? Do you carry a debit card with you?
Gas stations implemented the zip code requirement (real pain for those with non-USA issued cards) to combat card cloning fraud. Gas stations with chip readers typically have stopped requesting zip codes for chip cards. Chip cards are effectively unable to be cloned economically.

I don’t think Fidelity could cut their debit purchase limit to say $25 when I tried, but Schwab debit can.

criticalmass
Posts: 1010
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by criticalmass » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:16 pm

Summit111 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:58 am
NEVER use debit cards for purchases. Only at the issuing banks ATM. As you pointed out, someone could easily drain your account.

Summit
True but:
A thief finding a debit card in a stolen wallet scenario might decide to break your first rule.
If your bank allows lowering purchase limits, do that as a preventative measure.

Be aware that some merchants only accept debit (no credit) or charge higher prices for credit. (E.g. some European low cost carriers, some Arco gas, Venmo, Dave Ramsey, certain tax payments. So beware of consequences if lowering purchase limits, especially when on a trip without convenient internet access to make changes.

User avatar
FrugalInvestor
Posts: 5085
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Credit and Debit card safety

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:19 pm

I put 98% of my purchases on my cash back credit card. I carry my BofA debit card but only to get cash if necessary. I logged onto my BofA account online and set the purchase limit on the debit card to $1 (for some reason it wouldn't accept $0 or less than $1). The purchase limit is set separately from the daily cash withdrawal limit which can be set online also.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

Post Reply