Pros and Cons of Using Debit Cards

credit-cards-01One of the advantages associated with owning a debit card is that it gives you the ability to make online purchases. Not everyone has a credit card and many of those who do probably don’t want to use it every time they make a purchase. The high interest rate, fees and surcharges can really start to weigh down your bill. Thankfully, an alternative method is to use a debit card for online shopping.

If you’ve never made an online purchase using a debit card before, you might wondering how it works. The process varies depending on what website you’re purchasing from, but most involve using a secured checkout page to enter in your debit card information. Before making any online purchase, make sure the address in your web browser starts with “https”, which basically states the page is secure and your private information will remain protected.

When you’re ready to checkout, you’ll need to enter your debit card information into the website. After you’ve identified the website is secure, enter in your card number, expiration date, CCV and your billing information. Your order should be instantly processed after submitting your debit card information.

There are a couple of disadvantages to using a debit card over a credit card for online purchases, the most serious of which is the amount of liability protection offered. Most all credit cards are pretty good about dealing with theft situations. If someone steals and uses your credit card to rack up thousands of dollars in purchases, you can call the company and have the card immediately frozen and your charges reversed. On the other hand, a thief can wipe your bank account clean if they’re able to get their hands on your debit card. Although the bank will probably return some or all of the stolen money, it will certainly take longer than credit cards.

In addition to only making debit card purchased from a secured website, you should also refrain from storing your account information in a location where hackers and would-be thieves could access it. Even if you “think” your email account is safe, hackers are always retrieving data for thousands of accounts. In fact, nearly half a million email addresses and passwords of Yahoo users were recently compromised by hackers. The hackers responsible for this act left a note stating this wasn’t a malicious attack, but rather a wake up call to the vulnerabilities in Yahoo’s system.

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