Using Your Debit Card Online? Think Again.
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Using Your Debit Card Online? Think Again.

by LKCS Team | Apr 01, 2016

If you’ve ever thought, “What would we do without the Internet?” you’re not alone. We use the Internet every day for entertainment, to keep in touch with friends, pay bills, read the news and SHOP.

According to Mintel’s Online Shopping U.S. 2015 report, about 69 percent of U.S. online adults shop online at least monthly, and 33 percent shop online every week!


However, if you’re using your debit card to conduct your online transactions, you may want to think again.


If your debit card is used fraudulently, your entire bank account is at stake. The Electronic Fund Transfer act, which regulates debit card use, says that you are only liable for $50 if you notify your financial institution within two days of realizing your card has been lost, stolen or compromised. If you wait, or realize the fraud more than two days later, but within 60 days of when your statement is mailed, you could be liable for up to $500. If you wait longer still, you are at risk to lose a significant amount of your money.


What can be even more troublesome though, is getting your cash back into your bank account. Disputes can be a long and difficult process to resolve, which means that you might be suffering some serious cash-flow problems in the meantime.


A credit card is a much better choice for online purchases because thieves are using money from your card issuer, rather than stealing directly from your bank account. Plus, credit card users are protected by the Truth in Lending Act, which says you’re not liable for any debts if you report your card has been lost or stolen before unauthorized transactions are made, and there’s a $50 limit on liability even after your missing card has been used. Most credit card lenders won’t even make you pay that. Disputes are generally easier to resolve because you have the card issuer (i.e. Visa® or MasterCard®) going to bat for you.


At First National Bank, our third-party debit card vendor utilizes an automated notification system that has greatly reduced our customers’ losses from debit card fraud. The system, known as EnFact, will place an automated phone call to the affected customer indicating that there may have been some fraudulent activity on their debit card. EnFact provides a live call back number for the customer to call back and speak with someone. When the customer calls back, the suspicious activity is reviewed with the customer and the transaction immediately denied if the activity is determined to be unauthorized.


Your best protection for minimizing your exposure to fraud, though, is to use a credit card for online purchases and pay off your balance every month. First National Bank, through ELAN Financial Services, offers a number of personal Visa and American Express® credit cards and Visa business credit cards. Contact a Personal Banker at any one of our three branches to learn more.


Visa and the Visa logo are registered trademarks of Visa International Service Association. American Express and the American Express logos are trademarks and service marks of American Express Company. MasterCard and the MasterCard logo are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.


All trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.


November 2015