In a world where cyberattacks occur every 39 seconds, it’s no wonder why people might be concerned about payment security. Over the past two years, giant corporations and organizations including credit reporting agency Equifax, Marriott Starwoods Hotels, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Kmart, and more have either misused consumer data or have been the target of hackers. Payment security is becoming a huge consideration for checking accounts.

To combat data breaches, US Community Credit Union offers Visa Debit Cards and Visa Credit Cards with low limits to help you curb your spending, competitive rewards programs, fraud prevention services, identity theft protection, and a wealth of other security features.

Debit Versus Credit Cards

With more and more millennials turning to debit cards and credit card balances reaching 2008 financial crisis levels, it’s best to cover your bases and understand the most effective and safe ways to use both options.

Debit Cards

There may be a good reason to trust a debit card more than a credit card. It keeps you in check. Even if you really want that Tennessee Titans jersey or those box seats at the Nashville Predators game, your debit card tells you “no” when you can’t tell yourself. Debit cards are a way to combat potentially disastrous spending habits. When you swipe a debit card for that Starbucks cappuccino, the $4 transaction is immediately removed from your overall balance. If you lack sufficient funds, some banks and credit unions may charge overdraft fees. USCCU provides complimentary overdraft protection and Courtesy Pay with most new checking accounts to protect members from declining transactions should a budgeting mistake take place.

Credit Cards

While debit cards draw from the money you have in your account, credit cards function more like loans. They allow you to buy what you want and need up to a certain limit that is dependent on your credit history and income. Sometimes, reliance on the convenience of a credit card can lead to overspending and constant debt. Since credit cards charge interest, it can be easy to blow your budget if you aren’t vigilant. As long as you pay off your credit card balance in a reasonable timeframe, the card can be a great tool for building a credit history that supports long-term goals like buying a new car or house.

Despite their differences, debit and credit cards share a very important quality. They are a direct line to your funds. Naturally, most consumers expect their money will remain safe no matter what card they swipe or insert.

Liability, Payment Security, and Your Cards

If fraudulent activity does occur on a card you own, you want to know that most or all of your funds are recoverable. Debit cards don’t always guarantee full liability if your card is lost or stolen or your information is hacked. According to a set of federal regulations called the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, you could be liable up to $50 if you report the theft or loss within two days. That amount could jump to $500 after the 48-hour time period. If you don’t give notice within 60 days of your previous account statement, you could be out of luck. In addition to increased liability, the onus lies with the consumer to achieve reimbursement from merchants for goods and services bought with a debit card.

Most credit cards provide insurance and warranties protecting you against crimes of theft and fraud, as well as maintaining $0 liability (an additional brownie point that improves upon the $50 liability mandated by the Fair Credit Billing Act). It isn’t your money thieves take with a credit card. It’s the credit card issuers’. The credit card company also tends to reimburse the user without any extensive legwork on his or her part.

So, how can you get the payment security you need in-store and online with both products?

How to Make Safer Payments In-Store

Protecting your information can be as easy with a debit card as it is with a credit card. It’s as simple as choosing credit at the register and including your signature.

Give Some Credit: When you use your debit card as a credit card, a card processing company assesses the merchant and validates your transaction. Instead of taking your funds from your checking account on the spot, it will typically take 2-3 days before your balance reflects the deduction.

Skip Your PIN: After the customer service representative swipes your card or you insert it into a chip reader, you have a choice. You can either use your PIN number to authorize the purchase, or you can sign for it. It’s much harder for hackers to steal a signature than a series of numbers.

How to Make Safer Payments Online

You can use credit cards and debit cards to complete transactions online. Your debit card payment will actually be processed as credit on digital payment gateways. Mobile payment security comes with a unique set of rules you don’t have to worry about at brick-and-mortar establishments.

Shop on Trustworthy Websites: Before you input your card information into any website, make sure it is secure. You can easily check this by looking at the search bar. In the top left hand side of your browser, check to see if there is a lock icon next to the URL address. If there isn’t, the site is not secure, and you should not attempt to make a purchase through it.

Avoid Public Hotspots: It’s tempting to scroll through your favorite fashion sites while sitting in your go-to coffee shop. But free WIFI could come at a large cost if nefarious individuals take advantage of it. Opt for making purchases on connections you trust, like the ones available to you at home or a workplace with secure WIFI.

Be Vigilant: Debit and credit card protections are only as helpful as you are watchful. Under federal regulations, consumer liability changes as time progresses across both types of cards. For this reason, it’s important to check your account balance and transactions as often as possible.

You work hard for your money. Don’t you deserve a debit and credit card that protects you against potential threats? Ask us about your options when you open a checking account!