3 things you should NEVER pay with a debit card

Paying for gas with a debit card can be dangerous due to criminals.

Photo: wutzkohphoto / Shutterstock

A debit card is a lot like cash because transactions are instant. And it is that at the moment in which you make the payment, the money leaves your bank account.

You should be aware that using debit cards can be risky, as they don’t offer much financial protection and are more attractive to thieves in certain situations.

For these and other reasons, it is sometimes better to pay with a credit card or cash. Here we share three examples.

1. Online shopping

Instead of using a debit card, it’s safer to pay with a credit card when shopping online, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

If cybercriminals intercept your debit card number, they can drain the account immediately.

Credit cards come with more protection. For example, credit card transactions are protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, according to Money Talks News.

This federal law gives you certain consumer protections, such as the ability to dispute billing errors and withhold payment while your creditor investigates the disputed charges. Perhaps most importantly, the law generally limits your liability for unauthorized credit card charges.

2. Gasoline

Gas stations can be hot spots for criminals. According to Visa, about 1.3% of payment fraud in the US occurs at fuel pumps.

The FTC has warned travelers about using card readers at gas stations, called skimmers.

Skimmers are illegal card readers that criminals can connect to payment terminals. Fuel pump payment terminals are attractive targets for criminals because they are not manned by employees.

These card readers take data from the magnetic stripe of a credit or debit card without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you receive your statement or an overdraft notice.

Although not a completely risk-free option, a credit card is a safer way to buy gasoline.

3. Hotel reservations

To guarantee your room reservation and cover unforeseen expenses, hotels will hold your payment card. If you give a hotel a debit card, it will effectively deduct the amount from your bank account.

Funds will be returned after checkout, but it may take several days for your bank to process the requestwhich means that you will not be able to access the funds for several days after your hotel stay.

Better avoid this complication and book hotels with a credit card. Just be careful not to exceed your credit limit.

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