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The Debit Card: How to Really Use It and Avoid Theft

Stop! Don't use that debit card just yet because the way you are using it may be setting you up for fraud or identity theft. Before swiping, let me explain how to use it properly.

Do you know how to properly use your debit card? Most don't know how to use it properly and it is putting them at risk. My hope is that the following information will help you know exactly how to use a debit car properly to protect yourself, truly know why you are using it, and allow you to share with someone else and save them the pain!  Do you know how easy it is steal a debit card number? Technology has made it completely attainable. For $200 or less, anyone can buy a thermal smartphone case and, by simply standing behind you in a supermarket line, can steal your PIN number in a snap. So, what should you do? Well, stop using your debit card like a debit card.

Swipe and Sign

To put it plainly, don't use your PIN. Instead, sign for your items as all current debit cards also function as a credit card. Each store may have a different minimum amount due before requiring a signature at all making it even more convenient. Now you may be thinking about safety but let me assure you, Visa and Mastercard's fraud protection policies cover debit card transactions the same way as credit cards!  Don't believe me?  Check for yourself.  It's right on their website. When shopping depending on the store, you may need to ask a clerk how to run your debit card as credit on their unique system.  Once you know how it's quite simple but check the video at the top of this post for some easy standard practices you can attempt first. The point is, you'll quickly learn how each location you frequent works while still protecting yourself and your bank account.

Cover the Key Pad

In the instance you are required to use a key pad for a transaction, either because the system won't budget to put it through as credit or because you are doing a cash back transaction, be sure to cover the top of the key pad with your hand to avoid cameras or people catching your PIN. Also, as an added measure, rub your hand over the key pad after you're done to distribute the heat signature so the person behind you can't determine what keys you've entered. Anyone can retrieve that information based on the heat and fingerprints you left behind, so this is a great option.

Why Use a Debit Card Anyway?

There are huge perks when using your debit card like a credit card.  Here are just a few...

  • No interest
  • No opportunity for debt
  • Spending less because you feel it more (Research shows 12 - 18% spend more with a credit card than cash)
  • No credit card bill to manage
  • Your behavior changes in your favor

The bottom line is this. You can do everything with a debit card that you can do with a credit card except go into debt. The debit card is a modern marvel of finance. All the convenience of a credit card with none of the debt!  So, remember. Run your debit card as credit, sign for your purchases instead of using your PIN, and reap the convenience of fraud protection without accruing any of the debt to protect yourself and find more money to fund your dreams!

Question: Do you use your debit card religiously?  How will the tips shared in this post change your shopping habits? Still rely on credit?  Don't put yourself at risk and don't rack up the debt trying to avoid it. Let me help you learn a better way.

Additional Action Items: Come join my FREE Facebook community, the “Strong Together Money Community,” to stay informed and encouraged as you grow in your financial journey Check out my free e-book to gain additional tips on how to save. Not sure how to break free of that cable bill without feeling like you're missing out? You can cut those costs and still keep your content! For more information, check out my Cable Cutting Academy today!


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