Monday, March 21, 2011
Money Monday: When Not To Use Debit
A lot of us use our debit cards for everything. It's easy and makes tracking our finances easy, but it also makes it easy for thieves to steal your information. Seven's Robbin Simmons is here with Money Monday to tell us when to leave our debit cards in our wallets.
WSVN -- Alan Espinowas one of those people who used his debit card for all his purchases, and now he's paying the price.
Alan Espino: "I noticed that there was this weird transaction happening."
Alan's debit card had been skimmed. It's when thieves use a small machine like this to scan the card and steal account information, and in a short period of time $300 was gone from his checking account.
Alan Espino: "During that time I contacted the bank and had a bit of a difficulty trying to I guess convince them that it really wasn't me."
And that's the problem with debit cards, the money is out of your account and you have to prove it's a fraud before you get it back.
Alan Espino: "There's a saying in the business, follow your card."
That's why bankers like Roger Arndall say customers need to change their habits. There are just times you should use a credit card instead of your debit card.
Such as online purchases a credit card offers more protection if the item is not delivered as agreed restaurants and bars can also be iffy.
Roger Arndall: "It's difficult not to hand over your card especially at restaurants and bars and if you're going to open a tab they ask for your license and your debit card."
You should also use credit cards for hotel stays. Hotels often charge up front and estimate what the final bill will be and never use debit for recurring monthly bills. If there is a mistake on the bill they take your money before you can dispute it.
Alan Espino: "Nothing's sacred anymore."
Alan has been lucky the last time his card was skimmed the bank's fraud department caught it.
Alan Espino: "They told me what was going on, they took care of it and I got my money back without a problem."
Experts say you really should check your bank accounts at least once a week to make sure there is no fraudulent activity.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
10 Places NOT to Use Your Debit Card