Here at Telcoe Federal Credit Union, our members and their financial security are at the heart of everything we do. That's why we want to do our part to make sure our debit cardholders are fully aware of the personal security risk that accompanies the convenience of using their debit card. Identity theft is everywhere and continues to increase, especially through methods such as card skimming or simple interception of your personal PIN (personal identification number). As a result, we've compiled a list of six transactions that should never involve a debit card.
- When you're paying at the pump. Skimmers aren't the only danger to your wallet. The gas station will put a big hold on your account, typically for four days, that could cause your checks to bounce. If you must pay via debit at a gas station, go inside and pay the cashier.
- When you're buying online. A credit card is a much better option. If you don't get your merchandise, you can do a chargeback during a 60 day window.
- At the car rental counter. It's a standard practice (and completely legal) in the industry for car rental companies to do a credit inquiry, often without your knowledge or consent. They're trying to protect themselves against auto thieves that love to use debit cards as a low-risk method to get rentals that they can steal, but that inquiry can drastically lower your credit score in the process. The simple solution is to use a real credit card instead. Also, rental companies will additionally charge for gas, damages, etc. to your card even after the car has been returned. Monitor your statement closely, and read the fine print on the rental agreement.
- When booking advanced travel or when you arrive at a hotel. If you have concerns about the solvency of a company you're buying future travel from, you're better off using a credit card. This holds particularly true during an economic downturn when leisure travel businesses, such as cruises and some airlines, can go bust. Paying with a credit card ensures that you can do a chargeback if you don't get the travel you paid for.
- When buying furniture and major appliances. If you are ordering furniture or appliances, pay only by credit card. You reduce your risk if the store goes bust, which we saw a lot during the housing slump when furniture and appliance retailers really took it on the chin. If you do not get your delivery within 50 days, put the credit card charge in dispute. You lose all rights to any dispute after the 60th day.
- When setting up automatic drafts. Auto drafts are a favorite way for utility companies, cable companies, health clubs, home security companies, and even mortgage lenders to get their money from you each month. But, that business may continue to make monthly automated clearing houses (ACH) debits from your account even after your contract with them ends. That is illegal, and you can make it stop. However, it will likely take a few phone calls to company management. Instead, use your bank's routing number and your account number, and set up payments without providing your debit card number. You are able to place a "stop pay" on check or ACH payments but not debit card transactions.
The only truly safe way to handle a debit card is by logging every swipe or event when your card number is used for a purchase. Monitor your bank account daily and reconcile each clearing to verify the amounts being withdrawn. Use Telcoe's FREE mobile app to keep up with your balance and set up complimentary text alerts that notify you when debit transactions from your account occur.
Get to know your local credit union! Telcoe Federal Credit Union proudly offers credit union loans, credit union online banking, free online checking account and online savings account options, and other credit union benefits! If you're interested in an account or to see what types of mortgage loans or auto loans are available to our members, contact us by clicking HERE. We can't wait to meet you!
Do you have questions about our Telcoe debit card? Click to download our "How To Use Your Debit Card" guide below!