How to protect yourself from credit and debit fraud

June 06, 2018
Credit and debit card fraud is more widespread now than ever before. Even if you are careful, you might be a victim of this problem if the security of a retailer that has your card data is breached.
How to protect yourself from credit and debit fraud

You could avoid the danger of credit card fraud altogether by only using cash, but that is almost impossible when making purchases online.

What can you do?

Making online purchases without a credit or debit card

What are your options for making online purchases without a credit or debit card? You could get a gift card at brick-and-mortar retailers. This is a possible option if you are buying from a large online retailer or from a retailer that has both an online presence and brick-and-mortar stores. If you are planning to make purchases from smaller online businesses, then this strategy will not be sufficient.

Using a prepaid debit card

Another option to get a prepaid debit card and only load the amount that you need to make the purchase. If your card information is stolen then, the account will not have any additional money in it. There are a couple of potential drawbacks to this strategy. First, loading money could trigger additional fees that might make this an impractical option. Secondly, it will be inconvenient to load money each time that you need to make a purchase.

Monitor your accounts

The most practical option is to have a regular debit card account and to constantly monitor your account via an online management page. This will not protect your from fraud, but it will help you catch any suspicious activity early. The earlier you are able to notify your bank about the fraudulent activity, the easier it will be for them to deal with it.

Credit cards are better at dealing with fraud

Credit cards are usually better for dealing with fraudulent chargers. This is because you do not actually have to pay any money for your purchases until you pay your credit card bill. If you monitor your account regularly, you will catch any suspicious charges early, and you will hopefully be able to resolve them before your pay your bill at the end of each billing cycle.

What about debt?

Credit cards may be safer when it comes to fraud, but they are more dangerous when it comes to debt. If you do not pay off the entire balance of your credit card by the payment due date each month, you will incur interest charges that, over time, can really add up.

If you need to borrow money, a credit card should not be your first choice. If you do not have the money in your bank account to pay off all your credit card purchases by the end of the billing cycle, then you should not make the purchase.

Instead of using a credit card, you can consider an online personal loan. The application process for these loans only takes a day or so, so they are convenient and, since you only borrow what you need, you can pay the money off easily without building additional debt.