Thursday, 21 July 2016

Do you always keep your debit and credit cards safe

The use of debit and credit cards are more than ever these days. Alongside the increased usage, incidences of data breaches have also shot up in recent times. It is important to note that identity theft can occur anytime, anyplace – ATM, your favourite restaurant or when you are shopping online. Scammers are now using advanced techniques for stealing data and information of your debit card and credit card. To keep yourself safe from becoming a victim to their schemes, here are some things you can do to protect your debit card and credit card:

The first and the most important safety measure is memorizing your PIN number and keeping it a secret. Never ever write it on your card or any other place. Also, make sure to never share your PIN number with anyone over the telephone. Financial institutions will never ask you for the PIN number over the phone. Additionally, ensure to keep your account number private. You may have received emails from unknown sources asking for your account number or personal information. Do not respond back to it as fraudsters are likely to be behind it. You could also opt for paperless statements of your debit card and credit card so that there aren’t any print records lying around.

Do not always use your credit card for making payments. You may be regularly using your card to pay at restaurants and shops. The possible risk you could face here is if servers and clerks attempt to steal credit card information by swiping it in special machine. If you would still like to pay with your card, you could ask the waiter to bring portable card reader, which is used in many places, to the table so that everything is in plain sight. The safest option, however, is to pay in cash as you would not have to worry about data theft.

If your debit or credit card has been stolen, report it to the respective financial institution immediately. Do not just wait around as there is a risk that it could end up in the wrong hands. By notifying your bank, they will instantly block your card so that nobody else can use it. Remember, credit card fraud can hurt your CIBIL score in a big way. We will look into the effects of card fraud on credit score towards the end of the article.

Refrain from saving your card information on any website. No matter how much a website boasts about its security, anything you put up on a website is not completely safe. There are countless examples of data breaches. Make sure to click on ‘no’, when the option to ‘remember’ your card information appears. By doing so, not only will you keep hackers away from obtaining your information, you also ensure that no one who accesses your computer will use your card information.

Lastly, consider setting up account alerts if you haven’t already done it. Most financial institutions let their clients set up alerts, which may be delivered via text email or text. These alerts tell the card holder of certain kinds of transactions taking place. If you receive an alert for a transaction you did not place, notify your bank immediately. Setting up alerts has another advantage as well. It can help you protect and improve credit score. The alerts will remind you when a credit card bill is due, thus helping you avoid late fees.

Also keep an eye out for any fraudulent behaviour on your card because if and when that happens, it will hurt your CIBIL rating and then you would have to invest a lot of time and effort to improve credit score. Fraudsters can send out loan applications under your name and that will cause credit inquiries to be made on your credit report. Each inquiry will pull down your credit score, thereby hurting your efforts to improve credit score. Make sure to check your report at least two or three times a year. By doing so, you can recognize if any fraudulent activity has taken place and then get it corrected immediately. By regularly checking your report, you also make sure that all your financial activities are contributing to improve credit score. Remember to keep your credit card and debit card safe and make sure to use them in a manner to improve credit score.

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