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Financial Topics & Tips

Debit Card Safety
- 5 Places You Should Carefully Consider BEFORE Using Your Debit Card

“And how are you paying for your purchases today?”

It’s a question we are asked almost every day. Will you be using cash, a credit card or a debit card? It may be instinct for you to pull out any piece of plastic without thinking, but your random card of choice might not be the safest way to pay. Sometimes, you’ll want to use a credit card. And sometimes, it’s a better idea to pay with a debit card. Still other times, you’re best off using cash.

Here are several places where you may NOT want to use your debit card:

1.) At the pump

Card skimmers at gas stations are on the rise. By choosing to use your credit card instead of your debit card at the pump, you’ll have an added layer of protection against fraud. You can also choose to use cash. It’s the safest way to pay (so long as you watch out for pickpockets!).

 2.) At an isolated ATM 

       -  The ATM at The Tennessee Credit Union? Definitely safe to use.

       -  The one at the crowded pharmacy? Probably OK.

       -  The machine in a secluded corner of an empty convenience store? Very possibly tampered with.

 Isolated ATMs in locations with very little security and sparse foot traffic are prime targets for hackers. It’s best to give these machines a wide berth and don't use them.

 3.) In an unfamiliar location 

When on vacation, it’s important to think before you swipe. You don’t know the area and you can’t be certain which clerks are to be trusted. You’re better off paying with a credit card or with cash so your purchases are protected against fraud.

Also, a large charge in an area you never frequent might cause your purchases to be flagged as fraudulent. Let your credit union know about your trip and be careful how you swipe!

 4.) For large purchases 

If you’re springing for a new entertainment center or another big-ticket item, you’re best off using your credit card. It’ll offer you dispute rights in case the product doesn’t turn out how you expected, and you might be granted an extended warranty just for using a credit card.

 5.) Restaurants

Can you really trust the servers at your favorite restaurant with your personal financial information? When you hand them your debit card at the end of the meal, that’s exactly what you’re doing. The server has more than enough time to clone your card and then use it for any purchases they’d like to make. Unless your restaurant has a tableside payment system, you’re better off using a credit card or cash to pay for your meal.

Look out for skimmers 

Always use caution when using your debit or credit card. Check the payment processor for anything that looks out of place, such as a newer keypad on an older machine, or a hard-to-use slot for your card. Don’t forget to cover the keypad with your hand when inputting your PIN.

Stay ahead of hackers by using your debit card with caution!