Tips for using debit cards

  • Report the loss or theft of your debit card immediately to your financial institution.
  • Fraud happens! Check your statement and report any suspicious activity to your financial institution.
  • Keep your receipts from all your debit card transactions. A thief could get your name and debit card number from a receipt and order goods by mail or over the telephone. Your card does not have to be missing in order for fraud to occur.
  • Protect your PIN number, memorize it. Don’t write the number on your card or keep your PIN number with your card. Don’t choose a PIN number that a smart thief could figure out, such as your phone number or birthday.
  • Keep in mind how much money you have available in your account. Don’t forget that your debit card may allow you to access money that you have set aside to cover a check which has not cleared your bank yet.

What if my debit card is lost or stolen?

Just as your money may be stolen and your credit cards may be lost or fraudulently used, a debit card may be lost, stolen, or used without your knowledge. As a cardholder, you need to know the extent of your protection.

Government regulations require debit card issuers to set a maximum liability of $50 if the debit card is reported lost or stolen within two days of discovery. Liability increases to $500 if the lost or stolen debit card is reported within 60 days. Neglect to notify the bank of the theft within 60 days after a bank statement is sent, and you could lose everything in your checking and overdraft accounts.

Check with your financial institution about your liability. Many issuers offer consumers better protection than what is required in government regulations. One type of check card offers consumers “zero liability” in cases of fraud, theft, or other unauthorized card usage if reported by the cardholder within two business days after discovery. After the two-day period, the cardholder could be liable for a maximum of $50. Some other cards limit consumers’ liability for fraudulent use of stolen debit cards to $50.

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