Why should not use a debit card for shopping online? When it comes to spending money, people have pretty specific comfort zones. Banks love to pitch debit cards as a way to avoid spending money you don’t have.
But there are many reasons why you should never use a debit card as a form of payment as tempting as it may be.
It’s important that consumers understand the difference between a debit card and a credit card, there’s a difference in how the transactions are processed and the protections offered to consumers when they use them.
In this article, I’ll take a look at the dangers of debit cards and their hidden costs, as well as identify a half a dozen common places where you should never ever use a debit card.
What is the risk of Debit cards?
Do you shop online? Most probably you do. It’s great to shop online. There are good discounts, there is an option of choosing from a wide range of products, there is an option to compare easily and then there is the convenience of getting the good delivered to you.
Why should not use a debit card for shopping online? But when you shop online how do you make the payment? Is it cash on delivery or card? And if card, is it debit card or credit? If your answer is a debit card, you need to stop doing so now.
While many consumers choose to use a debit card to avoid accumulating credit card debt, you may not be aware that you could lose more hard-earned money through debit card fraud than if you used a credit card for a purchase.
Debit cards, which are tied to your checking account, let you make purchases while avoiding the interest charges you might face if you used a credit card.
That’s why budget-conscious consumers who don’t want to charge up a card they can’t afford to pay are constantly being pushed debit cards.
As you probably know, when you make a purchase with a debit card, the money is taken instantly from your checking account.
If someone fraudulently uses your debit card number, you could be responsible for some or all of their charges.
How does the Bank play with this hidden trick?
Why should not use a debit card for shopping online? Unfortunately, the banking industry pushes debit cards as being almost equivalent to cash.
But there’s a psychological factor the banks are using here, which many of us aren’t aware of it.
There’s a completely different psychological thing with cash than with card, for example, if I go somewhere and spend a $1 bill, it’s gone, right? I’ve got to come up with another one to have more.
There’s a sense of limitation with physical cash that you don’t have with a piece of plastic card.
For this reason, going cash only is much more likely to help you get your spending under control than using any kind of plastic be it debit or credit.
Why should not use a debit card for shopping online?
Why should not use a debit card for shopping online? Generally, you should never use a debit card to make purchases on the web. No, it’s not that online shopping is not safe. It is safe.
There are two reasons why you should not use a debit card for online or offline purchases, even in India where we have chip and PIN cards and where online transactions require either an additional password or a PIN.
# Both the debit card and credit card allow you to make purchases using e-transaction. But there is one big difference.
# The credit card has a limit on how much you can spend. The debit card doesn’t come with such a limit. If you have money in your bank account, you can spend that using a debit card.
# It means that if your debit card gets compromised and you should always vary of online frauds because they do happen you can potentially lose all the money you have in your bank account.
# Whereas, if your credit card gets compromised you will at worst lose all the credit that is available to you.
# To be pointed that it’s not your money that is available to you with a credit card.
# When you spend money using a credit card, you are spending your bank’s money although after you have made the purchase it becomes your liability and you have to pay, along with any fee or interest that the bank may charge you.
# This offers a sort of protection to you in case of the fraud.
# Even if your credit card is compromised and used without your permission, it’s the responsibility of the bank to handle and avoid the fraud and not yours.
# If your card is misused, you can always explain to the bank how it is a case of fraud and that you are not liable for it.
# In most cases, the banks will investigate the transactions and when they find that you are speaking the truth, will not charge you for the fraudulent transactions.
What are those places where you should never use a debit card?
Why should not use a debit card for shopping online?
# Online Shopping
Don’t use a debit card during online shopping because the debit card links directly to a checking account, “you have potential vulnerability” if you have problems with a purchase or the card number gets hijacked.
Most banks have additional voluntary policies that set their own customers’ liability with debit cards at $0.
Internet shopping requires a lot of trusts. When you buy online, delivery is always in the future, and you can’t inspect or try on your new purchases.
# Independent ATMs
Don’t use unbranded ATMs. While skimmers can be found on bank ATMs, too, they’re less likely because there are often security cameras in place.
Take a good look at the machine. Does the machine fit together well or does something look off, different or like it doesn’t quite belong? Make sure it doesn’t look like it’s been tampered with.
# When purchasing appliances or big items
Any big-ticket item such as electronics, a major appliance or furniture should go on your credit card, which may provide built-in purchase insurance, plus cashback benefits or other rewards that you’re not likely to get with a debit card.
Many credit cards will double the manufacturer’s warranty on products purchased with the card, giving you extra peace of mind when you’re making a large purchase.
Debit cards certainly won’t do this. Just make sure to pay off the balance as fast as you can.
# At restaurant
The next time you’re dining out, stop and think about what could happen if you hand over your debit card when the check comes.
Because there can be such high turnover at restaurants, you run the risk of a dishonest employee to getting access to your digits.
Mind it for those few minutes that you let your debit card out of your sight, it could easily be run through an illegal handheld reader where your information has been compromised and you are unaware of it.
# If you’re a new customer
If you’re a first-time customer in a store (online or in brick-and-mortar shop), skip the debit card during the times you buy.
That way, you get a feel for how the business is run, how you’re treated and the quality of the merchandise before you hand over a card that links to your checking account.
# Pay at the pump
The gas station will likely put a big hold on your account that could cause your checks to bounce.
If you must pay with debit at a gas station, go inside and pay at the cashier to avoid this scenario.
# Future trip
When you book your trip with a debit card, they debit it immediately. Suppose, if you’re buying trip that you won’t use for six months or making a reservation for a few weeks from now, you’ll be out the money immediately.
Whereas booking on credit allows you to pay off the balance over time, if necessary, for an expensive trip.
# When buying airline tickets
Lot’s of things can go wrong when comes to the question of buying airline tickets. As per a news report, travelers who booked a ticket for a said airline by using a debit card had no way to get their money back when the airline went out of business.
If you use a debit card to pay for tickets on Fly-By-Night Airways and they go belly up, your money is gone. It’s up to you to try to get it back.
But if you book with your credit card, your credit card company will be your ally and will fight on your behalf.
# Hotels and holds
Some hotels will place holds on your card to cover any unexpected costs or expenses that don’t immediately show up on your itemized bill.
There are sometimes holds or deposits in the hundreds of dollars to make sure you didn’t empty the minibar or trash the room.
Extra fees for Wi-Fi, movie rentals and room service can add up over the course of a stay. To protect themselves from unpaid bills, hotel operators simply add a security hold on top of the cost of the room.
The hold is almost unnoticeable if you’re using credit, but can be problematic if you’re using a debit card and have just enough in the account to cover what you need.
It helps to ask about deposits and hold for you to present your card.
# The car rental counter
Car rental companies often pre-bill your card in the event you go over on mileage or fail to refill the gas to the right level, putting you at risk of bouncing checks if you use debit.
A rental company may even perform a hard pull on your credit when you present a debit card, and that could harm your credit score.
It’s better to use credit, which might even offer extra rental car insurance as a perk.
Why should not use a debit card for shopping online? While you may find constantly using a debit card to be a great convenience, it won’t be so convenient if someone manages to drain your checking account.
When you spend money using a debit card, you lose cash immediately. Your money is deducted immediately from your bank account.
So try to decline the use of your debit card for point-of-sale (POS) purchases at the register rather use it for pull cash out of an ATM when you need it.