Debit cards and Credit cards both provide convenient ways to pay for items you need, but there is an important difference you should be aware of; credit cards let you buy on the credit of the issuing bank whereas a Debit card takes money directly out of your bank account. If a scammer steals your debit card and pin # they can wipe out your entire bank account making it impossible to pay your bills and causing serious harm to your financial well-being. Because there is so much risk in using your debit card, you may want to limit where you actually use it. The most common place to have your card and pin # stolen is actually at the gas station. Gas station card readers are outside, unprotected and are pretty simple for scammers to alter the machines to steal your information. Criminals have been crafty hiding small cameras above the pin pad to steal your pin # and they install readers over the gas station credit card readers to steal your credit card information. It can be difficult to tell when a fake reader has been installed. Using your debit card at a grocery store is another common way to get your pin # stolen. A criminal pretends to be looking at a web page on his phone but is actually taking a picture of your credit card. Cell phones can be equipped with temperature readers that can be put over the pin pad after you have used it and the reader will show how hot each button is from your finger; with this info a thief can easily figure out your pin # and gain full access to your bank accounts.
To keep yourself safe at a gas station, use a credit card, or take your debit card inside to the cashier. After inputting your pin # place your fingers on all the buttons for a few seconds; this will eliminate the possibility of a temperature reading that will give away your pin #. By going inside you will also eliminate the $100 to $150 hold they can put on your credit card for the gas you purchase as long as you specify a certain amount of gas you want to put in your car. Remember, with a debit card, you are covering the cost of any losses, and with a credit card, the issuing bank will cover the cost of theft. Which do you prefer?