Is Using a Debit Card Online Safe?

Is Using a Debit Card Online Safe?

A unique picture demonstrates how to use a debit card safely online. In total, six squares with an icon and a tip are displayed in the illustration: Use secure internet connections; keep an eye on your account; and look for the lock icon on the website. If you contact your bank within two days of the unauthorized usage, you could be charged up to $50. If you fail to report the issue within 60 days, you could be liable for up to $500. If you don’t disclose the issue within 60 days, you could be held entirely accountable.

Debit cards are widely accepted practically anywhere credit cards are accepted, making it simple to use your checking account. However, it’s probably safer to use a credit card if you have the opportunity, especially when shopping online.

Online Debit Card Use Instructions

Debit card use is quite similar to credit card use while making purchases online:

  • Type the debit card number here: If you have a bank debit card that is associated with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover, you must provide your debit card number, which is a 16-digit number. The number will be 15 digits long if you’re using an American Express prepaid debit card. Even if the retailer requests a credit card, you can always input a debit card number instead.
  • Check for additional information: Most retailers require you to input your card number, expiration date, and CCV (card verification value), which is typically printed on the back of your card and frequently has three digits. Prepaid American Express cards have four-digit CCVs that are located on the front. Your mailing address or just the ZIP code may be required, and it must coincide with the address on file with your bank. 2 of 3
  • You will not be required to enter your PIN, unlike when making purchases at a checkout counter. When you make an online purchase, it will be treated as a “credit” transaction, and two to four days later, money will be taken out of your bank account. 

A Debit Card’s Advantages

Debit cards are useful tools for managing your finances and reducing costs. They don’t have the annual charge that some credit cards do, and you aren’t given a credit limit that can be significantly larger than the amount of money in your checking account, which prevents you from building up debt. However, utilizing credit cards has many advantages.

The Benefits of Credit Card Use

You run some dangers when you shop online, most notably the chance of having your information stolen. The main issue with using a debit card for purchases is that, in the event that your information is stolen, the criminal will now have access to the money in your checking account.

Your checking account is debited by your debit card. Your account could be depleted if someone uses your card number to make fraudulent purchases. That implies that it will be challenging or impossible for you to cover your essential costs, such as your rent or mortgage, utilities, and food. Additionally, overdraft fees could apply. 

In contrast, a credit card doesn’t take money out of your checking account without your knowledge; instead, it creates a debt that you must pay back.

Federal law may protect you if your card information is used fraudulently, but getting your money back into your bank account is a difficult and lengthy process.

Liability Limits

You are not responsible for the transactions if your debit card information is unlawfully obtained and you report the fraudulent debits within 60 days of getting the bank statement that showed them. To avoid being held responsible for any fraudulent purchases, you must act more promptly if your debit card is lost or stolen:

  •  If you don’t report a theft or loss within two business days, you could be held responsible for up to $50.
  • If you report the theft or loss within 60 days of when your statement was delivered to you, you are liable for up to $500.
  • If you don’t disclose the issue within 60 days of getting your statement, you could be held totally accountable.
  • If your credit card was taken, your liability for credit card theft is limited to $50. You are not liable for any illegal use if your information was stolen but you always had control of your card. 

How to Use Your Debit Card Safely Online

Follow these fundamental security guidelines to lessen the risk of issues.

  •  Look for the lock to confirm that the website is secure before entering your credit card information. Check your browser for the locked padlock icon, and pay heed to any security alerts that appear.
  • Follow up on your account: Keeping track of your finances is a good idea no matter what, but it’s crucial if you share account information online. Regularly means at least once a month, but more frequently is preferable. In order to know when money is sent out, set up alerts in your account.
  • Use secure connections; getting things done is simple with mobile devices and free Wi-Fi. However, you can never be sure of a public hotspot’s security. Save accessing financial accounts or keying in credit card data until when you’re at home or at work and confident that the traffic is safe.

Security for Debit Cards

You may be safer than what is required by federal law if you use a debit card that includes additional protection from the card issuer. These offerings are frequently referred to as “zero liability” protection or other similar terms. 

You could have less protection if you’re using a prepaid debit card (as opposed to one that was included with your checking account), so make sure to read the restrictions of your card before using it online.

The Security of Both Online and Offline Shopping

Online debit card fraud is not the only way to lose money. Your card information can be stolen from physical stores, ATMs, petrol pumps, and pretty much everywhere else with Wi-Fi. Thieves could accomplish this with the aid of a skimming device or by remotely accessing a merchant’s payment system. 

Despite all the risks, the retail industry has shifted to the internet. As a result, you shouldn’t be excessively worried about entering your debit card number online; purchasing is typically very safe on secured websites.

Questions and Answers (FAQs)

Why won’t my debit card accept online payments?

There are a few possible causes for your card’s malfunction. The card may not have been activated, it may have expired, you may have entered the information wrong, or it may have been frozen as a result of fraud suspicion. It’s also possible that you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover the transaction.

When a credit card is required, may I use a debit card instead?

Either a debit card or a credit card can typically be used for online purchases, and there is no difference between how you enter them. The money will still be taken immediately out of your bank account even though you won’t need to enter your PIN or specifically choose “debit” online.

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