How to Protect Your Debit Card

The debit card hacking debacle at Target was unraveling as I was traveling across country to visit family for the holidays. Being so far from home, canceling my debit card was not really an option. During a phone call with my bank I learned a lot about how to protect my debit card.

Most banks allow you to change the pin for your debit card by calling the number on the back of the card and using their automated system. It’s a good idea to do this periodically and takes only a few minutes.

Your bank will automatically set a daily spending limit on debit purchases. Not only was I not aware this limit existed, I was shocked to see how high my bank set this limit on my behalf. Call your bank to set this limit to match your spending habits. That way if your card is hacked, you can limit the damage.

Just as there is a daily debit purchase limit, there is an ATM withdrawal limit that is separate from the limits set by the ATM machines. Again, I was surprised to see how high the bank set that limit. When you call your bank to change the daily debit purchase limit, change this one as well.

And don’t forget about your online banking password. When is the last time you changed it? I know, it’s another password to remember but it’s for your own protection. And while you are at it, if you have the option of choosing different security questions, do that as well.

Finally, log in several times a week to review your transactions and immediately contact your bank regarding any questionable transactions, no matter the dollar amount.

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