Debit Card Use: Extra Precautions Needed

Do you use a debit card?  Are you thinking about getting a debit card?  If your answer is yes, you might want to read this entire article. 

Between 2015 and 2016, debit card fraud increased by a large percentage.  The number of debit cards compromised at ATMs and merchants nationwide increased seventy percent (70%) according to FICO Card Alert Service.  Debit cards connected to a bank account holding the bulk of one’s funds make consumers vulnerable.  Opening a second bank account with limited funds for debit card use, only, is recommended. The funds can be replenished as needed, and your main account (that is not connected to the debit card account) is not accessible to fraudulent charges.

The debit card does not carry the same protections that the credit card carries.  Let me share the following information from the Federal Trade Commission. The delay in reporting a theft affects how much you can recover. 

Here is your liability:

  • You are responsible for zero dollars (nothing) if your debit card is reported lost or stolen before an unauthorized transaction is made.
  • You are responsible for $50 if, after you learn about the unauthorized transactions, you report it within two business days.
  • You are responsible for $500 if the fraud is reported more than two business days after you learn about it but fewer than sixty (60) calendar days after you receive your statement.

If you fail to report a fraudulent charge more than 60 calendar days after you receive your statement, you have faulted/lost your protection.

So, using a debit care may be convenient, ensuring that you stay out of debt in that if you have no money in your account – you cannot make a purchase.  However, the user must take as much care and every precaution that can be taken.

Submitted by:  Thalia F. Matherson, EdD - Member

                              TRTA Information & Protective Services Committee

                              TRTA District 10 President


Adapted from Michelle Singletary

The Dallas Morning News 7/26/17