Financial Safety / Credit Cards

5 Tips for Keepin' Your Card Information Safe

Words by Abbie Dyer on Feb 24, 2015 9:00:00 AM

In our busy lives, the convenience of carrying a plastic card fits well into our lifestyles. But with all the debit and credit card compromises in the past year, many of us are questioning the benefit of this convenience. Before you start emptying out your wallet into the shredder, consider the ways that you use your cards.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent card compromises, but there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and limit the chance of your information ending up in the wrong hands. Check out these tips to keep your card information safe:

Beware of Gas Stations

Any outdoor terminals, like gas stations and ATMs, are risky to use. Criminals can put skimmers in the machine’s card reader, which copies down your card information while you are doing a transaction. It’s safer to go inside and pay the station attendant.

If you need cash, be sure to practice ATM safety and cover your hand when you use your PIN. And if a machine looks like it has been tampered with, don’t use it! If possible, notify the financial institution of the situation so they can send a technician out to look at the machine.

Think Again When Dining Out

You wouldn’t give a complete stranger access to your account, would you? Don't ever let your card leave your possession. A server can easily write down all of your card information while they are in the back room.

Take-out restaurants are dangerous too. Do you really know what happens to your card information when you give it to the person on the phone? You run the risk of having your card number tossed in the trash or put in the pocket of a dishonest employee.

Be Careful Online

Consider using your credit card instead of your debit card online since the money does not come out of your account right away.

Is your computer safe? If your antivirus software is out of date, or if you are using a public Wi-Fi network, you run the risk of hackers stealing your information. Plus, you don’t really know who is handling your card information on the other side of an online transaction.

Have a Backup Account

Don’t keep all of your money in your checking account. If your debit card is compromised, you don’t want to lose access to all of your funds while the fraud transactions are being investigated. Keep some cash in a savings account as a backup.


Monitor Your Accounts

Make it a weekly habit to log in to Online Banking or Mobile Banking at least once a week to check your balances and make sure there’s no funny business going on.

Don’t give up on plastic just yet. Trust your gut and play it safe. If a transaction doesn’t feel or look right, pay with cash or walk away. And rest assured that if something does happen, we’ve got your back.

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SEE ALSO: 6 Steps to Handling a Card Compromise   |   EMV Cards: The Plastic With All the Power

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