Not all plastics cards are created equal. The major differences in credit vs. debit is in the protections (or lack of protections) that come along with the fine print. A debit card is connected directly to a person’s bank account and when compromised can devastate your bank balance.
I know too many people who’ve fallen victim to some type of debit card fraud whether through skimming or unauthorized purchases and never recouped their losses. Sometimes the banks just won’t budge. They tend not to believe a person who’s PIN and card number was leaked.
Creditcards.com reports The Federal Reserve’s Regulation E (commonly dubbed Reg E), covers debit card transfers. It sets a consumer’s liability for fraudulent purchases at $50, provided they notify the bank within two days of discovering that their card or card number has been stolen. TWO DAYS. That’s it! After that, the maximum liability jumps to $500. Some banks will extend the grace period up to a year, but good luck getting your money back.
Don’t use a debit card. Use credit cards and pay attention to your statements every month and refute unauthorized charges immediately. I check my charges online once every two weeks. If I’m traveling extensively, especially out of the country, I let the credit card company know ahead of time, so they won’t shut down my card while I’m on the road.