The recent Target data breach fiasco took the financial industry by storm. Unfortunately, experts predict that a similar kind of breach has an 80% chance of happening again putting consumers’ financial and debit card data at stake one more time. This problem in security is even more frustrating because ordinary consumers are left with little choice.
To fix the bugs and improve financial security for consumers in general, the main responsibility lies on our financial service institutions. Reports reveal that the financial service industry is hoping to switch to EMV by October 2015 since EMV is believed to be more secure. Until then, here’s some of the little security precautions you can do as a consumer to make your debit card safer:
Use credit card
If possible, you should use credit cards rather than debit cards. When it comes to identify theft and related fraud cases, credit cards offer two advantages. One, of course, has something to do with more protection offered by credit card issuers as compared to the kind of protection offered by banks. Another advantage is the amount of time the consumer can report suspected fraud. With a debit card, you only typically have just two days as your window of time to report suspicious transactions. With a credit card, on one hand, you have a much longer period of time.
Sign your transactions
When you enter your PIN for every transaction made, the chances of fraud is higher because identity and information thieves can easily steal information this way. Unfortunately, most merchants prefer for consumers to key-in their PINs when completing purchases because this method is cheaper for them. Once thieves have your PIN, however, it is easier to withdraw from your debit card. All they have to do is create a fake debit card and key-in your PIN. So rather than PIN transactions, you should opt for signature transactions instead.
Track your statements
When it comes to your debit card’s security, you cannot be too lax. You need to be aggressive and proactive. That means you need to track your statements regularly. Only by doing so will you be able to spot and stop bogus transactions. If you were not regularly monitoring your statements before, it’s time to change and develop a new habit now. Always keep a close eye on your statements if you want to keep your data and financial information safe and sounds from thieves.
Avoid automatic transfers
While automatic transfers from one account to another may seem convenient, it has been revealed that doing so may actually increase the chances of fraud. The problem is not the act of transferring from one account to another but on the fact that automatic deductions typically create overdrafts. Because of these overdrafts, thieves may wipe out both your accounts once they get ahold of your PIN. Try to disable this option at least temporarily to keep your debit card and your other account safer.
Improve your passwords
This is basic advice but unfortunately not many people are taking heed. One of the most common ways thieves breach and steal financial data is by stealing username and passwords. They do it because they know that about 55% of consumers are practically using the same username and password for all their online accounts. If thieves are able to access your debit card by stealing your PIN, they can eventually access your bank accounts online once they figure out your username and password as well.
Make use of account alerts
Most banks help secure debit cards by offering consumers the option to set-up account alerts. Take advantage of that option by making that yours is turned on for all your debit cards. When certain types of transactions are carried out, your bank or provider usually send out an alert either via text or email. You also have the option to configure the parameter and requirements of the account alerts you want to receive.