Americans spend billions of dollars every year on debit card purchases. The convenience of making purchases without the extra charges associated with credit cards is the biggest advantage to using a debit card. However, debit card security is crucial to avoiding fraudulent charges that could end up being your responsibility.
Megan Boone, Electronic/Deposit Processing Coordinator Officer for First Keystone Community Bank, said that while fraud cases at the bank have been consistent over the past year, consumers should be diligent about protecting their information.
“The average loss per customer is around $100 to $200,” Boone said. “Most of the fraud cases we’ve seen are related to online purchases. But there are steps that consumers can take to avoid that type of fraud.”
Most of the steps that should be taken to help secure debit card purchases are simple and just require some common sense.
Look for a debit card with new safety features
Banks like First Keystone Community Bank offer simple yet powerful tools through their mobile banking app, for staying connected and safe wherever you go. Features like built-in card controls can temporarily block a debit card instantly. When blocked, purchases made with the card will be declined. When turned back on, the card will work normally. Transactions outside of the cardholder’s local area can also be blocked, if needed.
Boone said these features could be a customer’s best defense against debit card theft. “Utilizing the debit card features in the bank’s mobile app is a great way to prevent theft,” Boone said. “Customers can set the specific criteria that works best for them.”
Boone also suggests that consumers be mindful of the websites they visit.
Stay secure online
Using a credit card for online purchases is more secure than a debit card for several reasons. Credit card transactions take more time to process than a debit transaction and credit card purchases can be tracked easier than a withdrawal of cash.
Whether using a credit or debit card for online purchases, watch for certain symbols on websites that indicate all information will be encrypted and therefore safer. A padlock or unbroken key symbol indicates an additional level of security. Website addresses that begin with https: and not http: will also offer a higher level of security.
Always know where your card is
Never leave your debit card unattended. Purchases can be made on a stolen card within minutes, sometimes even before you notice the card is missing. Notifying the card issuer within two days may limit your losses. Waiting longer to notify the bank could affect your ability to recover funds.
Keep your numbers private
Never give out your PIN number to anyone, even if you know them. Keep your debit card information private as well, whether in-person or over the phone, unless you are absolutely certain you know the merchant. Avoid using your PIN when possible. Instead, use your card in “credit card mode” for added protection.
Use bank-owned ATMs
Automated teller machines (ATMs) located at a bank are typically more secure than retail locations such as grocery stores or gas stations. A visible location, targeted lighting and surveillance cameras help reduce the likelihood of someone getting close enough to skim, or steal, the data from your debit card.
Making debit card security a regular part of your daily routine will help ensure that you will be the only one enjoying the many advantages of your card. Getting into a regular routine to protect your debit card and your identity can greatly reduce the possibility of fraud. Pick the same day each week to check your account history for unusual transactions. Have a specific place to keep your debit card and check it each time you leave a store.
Report problems immediately
When there is evidence of fraudulent charges or transactions, or your debit card is missing, time is of the essence. Consumers generally have 60 days to report unauthorized charges and two business days to report a stolen card.
Many banks, including First Keystone Community Bank, have enhanced their debit card protections. For more information on our debit card security features or the products we offer, visit our website www.fkc.bank or stop into any of our branches and speak to a friendly Keystone Banker.
Because we’re here for you!