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Debit vs. Credit Card Protection Explained

When it comes to keeping consumers safe, not all plastic is created equal. Both credit cards and debit cards provide good protection for account holders. However, credit cards have an added layer of protection since they aren’t directly linked to a savings or checking account like a typical debit card. In the event of fraud or theft, there’s also a better chance of getting your cash back if you used a credit card rather than paying with cash.

How Fraudulent Charges are Handled


In most cases, fraudulent credit card charges can be reversed in less than 24 hours. But, it can take as long as two weeks to restore funds to a debit card account. Meanwhile, other expenses and bills may pile up. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to try and pay off your credit card balance every month if possible. You can manage your budget better by setting up special reminders to regularly check your credit card spending as well. Also, be smart and apply for low-rate credit cards to save even more money.

Certain places are more vulnerable when it comes to swiping a debit card, including petrol stations, or freestanding/outdoor cash machines. These types of terminals are more vulnerable to being equipped with unscrupulous skimming devices that are attached to card slots in order to collect the cardholder’s personal data when they use their card.

Minimise Your Debit Card Risks
Most people would agree that using a debit card wherever you go is super convenient. Consider the following ways to keep enjoying the advantages that a debit card offers while decreasing the potential risk of getting ripped off:

1. Keep a close eye on your bank statements each month. Keep in mind that an    unauthorised charge can happen even if your card was never stolen or lost.
2. Only use your debit card with trusted retailers. In general, you should only use a credit card to make online purchases. Also, don’t let either type of card out of your sight when using them in a social setting, such as restaurants or bars.
3. Immediately report any unauthorised charges or if your card is lost or stolen. The quicker you react, the better.
4. Don’t link any accounts together if you don’t have to. Linking your debit account to your savings account could lead to both accounts running dry.

Today, most financial institutions almost always catch fraudulent charges very quickly, even before the cardholder notices it. If you see something unusual, immediately contact your bank. The FTC suggests following up the incident with a certified letter that outlines the bogus charge so there’s an official record that you notified them.

About Jess

Jess hails from Sunny Australia and is the youngest of the frugal ladies. She loves shopping for a bargain, reading, watching movies and spends most of her life on the beach

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  • This is definitely good information. I learned the way about only using trusted retailers a couple of years ago.

  • Anne Parris

    Great tips, Jess. We just went through this. My husband’s bank card data was stolen either at a restaurant or gas station, probably via a skimmer. We had almost $500 taken. The bank returned our money and issued a new card, but it took almost 2 weeks.

  • dinnerthendessert

    Both my husband and I have had our credit card numbers stolen! You never know when it’s going to happen so you’ve got to have the right protection!

  • Kristi Nelson Renner

    Excellent tips and explanation. The differences can get confusing but you really explained things well.

  • Jeanine @ sixtimemommy.com

    This is great info, its awesome to know and be on top of it. I couldn’t imagine having my credit or compromised! It would be AWFUL.

  • Catherine S

    This is great information. We pay with cash as much as we can. I have a credit card that I use for gas and online shopping. I just make sure I pay it off each month.

  • Toni Dash

    This is very helpful information, which I will begin to use immediately. Thanks for the great tips!

  • I’m glad detection is pretty quick these days, but this is all really scary. It can happen so fast!

  • Pam

    Having had my credit card info stolen once, I appreciate you sharing these tips with us! It can happen fast and is very scary.

  • Obviously MARvelous

    My mom always insists on using her credit card when shopping online due to better protection and I never really took her seriously. I will be sharing this information with her and letting her know she was correct immediately.

  • Great explanation of protection of both card types. I have a debit/credit card attached to a bank account and am constantly keeping track of my alerts on that account.