Debit card is one of the most popular and common forms of financial transaction used in today’s world. It’s convenient, time-saving, and safer than carrying cash. However, just because it’s convenient, we cannot not take it for a ride especially when debit card frauds are on the rise across the globe. Every now and again people are falling prey to the fraudsters. India has around 65 million debits card users. A global fraud report (conducted in 2014, by ACI) of around 6100 consumers in 20 countries reveals that one in four consumers is a victim of card fraud and India stands in the second position in terms of debit card fraud rate with 32% as compared to 21% in 2012. So, how can we protect the debit card and our hard earned money? Here are some debit card best practices to prevent the misuse of your debit cards and help you keep away from the frauds.
Protect Your PIN
This is the first and the foremost step towards protecting your debit card from any potential risk. Protecting the PIN means protecting your money. Don’t share it with just anyone. Memorize the PIN and make sure you don’t write it anywhere. And most importantly, don’t share it with anyone over the phone. There have been several instances in which, frauds would project themselves as bank officials and ask for your debit card credentials over the phone. Remember, banks would never ask for your PIN over phone or email.
Report the Lost or Stolen Debit Card Immediately
A lost or stolen debit should be immediately reported. Visit your branch or make a call to the toll free number to report the loss. Do not waste your time. Immediate reporting will prompt the banks to take necessary action in order to prevent any potential frauds.
Check Emails Regularly
This is the easiest way to identifying suspicious transactions made through your debit card. If you are using internet banking service, you are more likely to receive an email confirming the transactions. However, be extremely careful while letting someone access your emails or personal computer, since it involves the risk of identity theft.
Be Careful While Swiping
While making payments at PoS (Point of Sale), make sure you authenticate the transaction by entering the PIN. Wait until the vendor/merchant gives you the receipt confirming the transaction.
Make Online Payments Through Secure Platforms
While purchasing goods and services online, prefer using your personal computer or laptop. Make sure you notice the Lock symbol and ‘https’ at the address bar of the website, which are the symbols of a secure online payment gateway. Besides, the two-tier authentication process is one of the measures to protect the debit card credentials. However, if you are using a public computer at cyber cafe, you need to be a lot more careful about it. It’s better to terminate the transaction process, if you find anything suspicious.
Enable SMS Alert
It’s way more convenient to keep a track of your debit card transactions via SMS alert. By activating the SMS alert service, you get notified of the transaction details made using the card.
Keep it Safe from Damages
The magnetic strip on the back side is the most important portion of the card. If it gets damaged you cannot carry out transaction by swiping the card. Make sure it’s not exposed to magnetic objects, dirt, or any sharp object that can scratch it.
Review Bank Statement
Update your passbook or review your account statement in order to identify your spending. If you find anything which seems unauthorized, report it at the bank immediately.
Follow the Debit Card Best Practices
It’s after all our own duty to protect our debit cards in order to protect our money. Unless we are watchful, anything can happen at any moment. By following the debit card best practices we make sure we’re doing everything to keep away from debit card frauds.
- Don’t let the cashier or the vendor enter the PIN for you. Do it yourself.
- Cover the number pad with your palm to restrict the view of the front person while entering the PIN.
- Make sure the person standing behind you is not acting strange.
- Don’t leave the counter until the transaction is complete.
- Get the receipt and review it properly. Look for the SMS notification as well. Sometimes, a payment can fail due to technological errors. But your account may get deducted. In such a case it usually takes 24-48 hours to auto revert the money in your account. If it takes longer, you can take the receipt to your branch and lodge an ATM complaint.
- Staying alert is the best way to protect your debit card. Any suspicious activity should be immediately reported, whether it at an ATM counter or PoS or even bank.
Debit card fraud is always a possibility and is a real life issue. You can prevent it from happening to you only when you are financially responsible. And it comes with improving your financial literacy and applying the same in everyday life. Take all the necessary steps and use the debit card security best practices above to protect your money.