Debit cards or credit cards are more vulnerable to frauds and this is clearly evident from the current trend of increasing cyber crimes in India. In the state of Maharashtra alone, there was around 1516 cyber offenses registered in the past two years which is 6.5 times of 231 cases registered in preceding two years. More disappointingly, debit or credit card frauds top the cyber crime list with 320 cases. However these figure are only indicative, since there may so many cases that go unregistered, hence unnoticed. Now the question is how we can stop it from happening us, since it has become a real life issue. Is it safe to use debit cards online at all? The answer would be yes it is safe and it’s possible to use debit card online safely, but that’s only when we follow the debit card best practice.

Here are 8 smart ways. Remember, when you know how to use debit card online safely, fraudsters are going to have a tough time.

Keep Your PIN a Secret

Your PIN is a password, not a passing word. Keeping it secret is crucial to protecting your debit card and money. Whether you’re using it online or offline, make sure you are the only person who knows it. Make sure of the following while using the debit card PIN online,

  • It’s not saved or stored anywhere in the local files of your laptop or pc
  • It’s not written on the back of the card or anywhere which is easily traceable
  • You have memorized the PIN
  • You change the PIN regularly
  • You’ve covered the number pad while pressing the PIN at merchant stores
  • Nobody is peeking from behind

Enable SMS Alert

Every time you use your debit card for online payment, the information should reach you immediately.  For this, enabling SMS alert is a must. Visit your bank and apply for SMS alert service. It involves certain charges on a quarterly basis. But this is a significant way to keep track on your debit card transaction.

Make Sure the Website is Safe and Encrypted

Web is a vast space. Whether you are making online payments or buying stuff from online stores, make sure the payment is made through a secure payment gateway and the website is a trusted one. Look out for two symbols; a lock and ‘https’ at the url box.

https and lock symbol

In India, we have two factor authentication methods, where every domestic online transaction goes through a second layer of security known as Verified by Visa and 3D Secure code. All the online merchants operating in India accept payment through this mechanism.

Be alert about the security features to keep your debit card safe while doing online transaction.

Avoid Public WiFi or Shared Computers at Cyber Cafe

Using a public wireless connectivity or shared internet connection is not a secure way to carry out your online financial transaction with debit card. There are chances of losing your debit card credentials to frauds. Always use a secure internet or intranet connection to perform your financial transactions.

Likewise, it’s also advisable to use your personal computer for online transaction. Since, the computers at cyber cafes usually don’t have updated anti-virus software.

Use Updated Anti Virus software

Using popular antivirus software such as Avast and Kaspersky is a must, especially when you are an internet user. It protects your online activities and safeguards your pc from viruses and malware. Every time you come across link which leads to a suspicious website, the antivirus program prevents it and alerts you about the potential threat. Use a licensed version and update it from time to time.

Never Share Debit Card Information Over Phone/Email

Don’t believe spam emails that says you have won coco-cola lottery or World Bank or RBI lottery of this much dollar. These are fake tactics of frauds to collect your financial information and rob your bank account.

Never share your account and debit card details over phone or email. Neither RBI nor your bank ever asks for such information. You might want to read this.

Use Virtual Debit Card for Online Transaction

Virtual debit card is an innovative and advanced way of making online transaction safely. It’s a prepaid card with limited validity, which can be generated using net banking. You can use it for online payment without exposing the information mentioned on the actual debit card. It expires after a certain time limit. In case you have a refund, it will be credited to the card itself.

Check Emails, Account Statement and Passbook

If you are a net banking user, you are more likely to receive a monthly statement of your transactions. Check your email regularly and be watchful of any doubtful transaction. You should immediately report if you find anything suspicious.

Likewise, you can request an account statement or update your passbook at any branch office of your bank.

Apart from this, I would like to share another hint on debit card safety, which I read about in a very good website, Jagoinvestor.com. As you know the CVV number is a significant feature of debit card and you really need to be careful about it. Jagoinvestor has a unique idea on this. It says we can scratch the CVV in order to prevent card frauds, which I think is a smart idea. However, make sure you memorize it before you scratch it off.

So, these are some useful debit card safety tips at your disposal. Safe use of debit cards is crucial to protecting your hard earned money. Use the security options and enhance your financial literacy to stay away from frauds.