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The dangers of debit cards
Stacking your cards © MIKE BLAKE/Reuters/Corbis

The dangers of debit cards

Certain card categories can be considered more vulnerable, thanks to differences in the laws that govern them. Using a debit card is riskier than using a credit card because a customer could wind up paying more out of pocket when a debit card is compromised.

A debit card "connects directly to your bank account," says John Sileo, data security expert and author of the "Identity Theft Recovery Guide." "When it's emptied, the cash is gone" until the bank puts it back. Banks have 45 days to investigate the fraudulent charges, but after 10 days, they have to issue a provisional credit of the missing funds.

Not only that, but under Regulation E of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, debit card holders can be liable for $50 if they fail to report fraudulent charges within two days and up to $500 if they fail to report within 60 days. After 60 days, they could wind up paying for all unauthorized charges, says Rick Fischer, senior partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP.

At the end of the day you could wind up waiting two weeks for the funds to be reimbursed. This lag time could prove problematic if bills are due, or if while waiting for reimbursement, you rack up overdraft fees.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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