If you’re a senior citizen using a debit card, a single slip of your debit card and PIN can give crooks access to every penny in your bank account.
For seniors living on a fixed income, a debit card might be an attractive method of payment to control costs. According to a 2014 survey by the Federal Reserve System’s Cash Product Office, 32 percent of adults ages 65 and older prefer debit cards to cash (25 percent) and checks (8 percent), and choose debit cards almost as much as they choose to use credit cards (33 percent).
But, the liability for a lost or stolen debit card could be great. If the loss of a card is reported within two business days, the liability is limited to $50. Greater than two days and less than 60 days after the bank statement is sent, the maximum loss is $500. Beyond that, the loss could be all the money in an account.
Sometimes, senior citizens are the victims of financial scams, a 2011 MetLife study showed. But even legitimate charges on a debit card can get out of control.
Knowing when and where to be cautious about using a debit card can help the elderly keep their money in their checking accounts, where it belongs.