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The Ultimate Safety Tip For Using Your Visa Debit Card

One of the many complaints I hear about using a Visa debit card for transactions is that they are not as safe as a credit card. Credit card transactions give consumers protection to dispute charges, thereby ensuring a thief does not wipe out their entire bank account. Since debit cards pull the money from the bank account at the time of purchase they are more open to fraud, or so the thinking goes.

visa debit cardMostly the safety issue with a Visa debit card results from the use of a PIN – a personal identification number. In theory the PIN serves as an extra barrier of security in that you must enter it before completing a transaction. However, the problem comes when someone unknowingly steals your PIN. If someone had your debit card number and your PIN they could use your debit card for transactions and empty your account.

Stealing your PIN is easier than you think too. The transaction terminals at most businesses and ATMs are wide open. That person standing behind you or even the cashier could easily sneak a peak at the code you are punching in. If those wandering eyes are also able to see/get your debit card number they’d have all the information they need.

So you really need to keep your PIN a secret. Memorize it and never keep it with you.

Don’t let the cashier enter in your PIN. Don’t give it out over the phone. Never share it with anyone over the phone, online…not even at your bank or financial institution!

But there is even a better option than just keeping it secret. This practice will make sure you have all the protection you need.

The #1 Safety Tip For Using a Visa Debit Card

The ultimate safety tip for using your debit card is this…

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Buyer Beware: Renting a Car With a Debit Card

My wife and I have chosen to be debt free and live without the use of credit cards. 99% of the time we have no issues when it comes to purchases. We simply swipe our debit card or pay with cash when making a transaction. The one instance where we’ve had difficulty is when we are renting a car with a debit card.

We’ve run into trouble twice with this and in both cases it nearly had us stuck. The most recent time, on our vacation to Yellowstone a few weeks ago, nearly cost us our trip.

renting a car with a debit card in cody, wyomingMy wife is an incredible trip planner. She can research and organize a trip with such precision I hardly have to pay attention. The most I end up doing in the trip-planning phase is giving minor advice and approval to her vacation to-do requests.

So when the chance came to save $700 on our rental car for the week that was a no-brainer. “Heck, yeah” I said. “Book that!”

My wife is member of the AICPA (the American Institute of  CPAs). As a member she is entitled to discounts with companies with whom the AICPA has an affiliation. One such company is Hertz.

She did all the fine-print reading ahead of time and found out Hertz does accept debit cards for rental car purchases. The one caveat is they require a credit check before releasing the car. That should have raised a red flag for us but we just missed it. (Our credit is of course shot because we don’t use credit anymore.)

So we booked a minivan with Hertz two months prior to leaving and didn’t give it another thought.

Renting a Car With a Debit Card: A Nightmare Scenario

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