How to protect your debit and credit card online.

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Online Shopping

The world of e-commerce has its benefits, like the fact that you don’t even need to leave the house to shop. The downside? You need to be cautious when entering your payment information online.

Plains Commerce Bank’s Jodie Kannas and Lori Tiede share tips on safely using your personal debit and credit cards online.

Debit vs. credit: What are the benefits?

Debit cards are a great tool to prevent overspending. No matter where you shop, you will only spend as much money as you have in your bank account (as long as your card declines transactions when there are insufficient funds).

Credit cards are useful if you need to make a purchase now, but don’t have enough funds to cover costs. The caveat? If you don’t pay off your balance in full when you receive your monthly statement, you’ll pay interest.

What happens if my debit or credit card is stolen online?

At Plains Commerce Bank, if your debit card is compromised, we’ll launch a stolen debit card investigation. During this time, your account may be granted provisional, or temporary, credit in the amount of the alleged error (including interest where applicable). You should expect this within 5 business days for fraudulent or unauthorized Visa® point-of-sale transactions. 

The sooner you report suspicious activity, the more likely you are to recover your funds—and faster! The Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) protects consumers from significant loss. This protection is different for debit and credit card transactions.

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) says if you report a credit card as lost or stolen, the most you’ll lose is $50.

For debit cards, you’re not liable for transactions made after you report your debit card lost or stolen. For transactions that occur before, the EFTA protection you receive depends on when you report your debit card as lost or stolen.

  • Report it within 2 days. Then you’re only responsible for up to $50.
  • If you report it within 60 days of your statement being mailed, you’re liable for up to $500.
  • If you don’t report it within 60 days, you could pay for everything.

The lesson? Review your transactions and report anything suspicious right away.

You may have protections on top of the EFTA, too. Visa® provides consumers with zero liability protection if your Visa debit or Visa credit card is used for unauthorized transactions. (Visit visa.com for terms.) While you always have some protection, no matter which financial institution you do business with, read the terms and conditions of your credit card agreement.

How can I guard my card online?

Plains Commerce Bank debit cards are monitored for fraud 24/7. If our system detects unusual activity, we’ll call you to confirm recent purchases. If you bank elsewhere, check to see how they alert consumers of suspicious transactions.

While shopping online does pose some risks, both credit and debit cards can be used. It’s the personal preference of the shopper. You can always help minimize your risk as a cardholder, too. Here are a few tips to prevent fraud from the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation):

  • Only give your card number if you initiated contact or a transaction.
  • Don’t share your credit card information with others. Store your card in a secure place.
  • Regularly monitor your statements for both debit and credit cards. If you have a debit card through Plains Commerce Bank, you can access your account activity online or on your mobile device.
  • On your computer, ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus and spyware detection. Also look for https in the URL (that “s” at the end is important) when entering your credit card online. Finally, make sure you’re using a secure Wi-Fi connection.

If you have questions, call the number on the back of your card or your financial institution. You can also ask your personal banker.

Protecting your money is a responsibility shared by you and your financial institution. Together, we can keep card thieves at bay online.