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Is it safe to use a debit card online?

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    Although many threats exist online, shopping online is likely to be safe. Even so, account alerts are very useful in keeping you aware of important activity on your card. Fraud monitoring is similar on debit cards and credit cards, but the exact processes can vary by issuer. Let's review how fraud protection generally works. 

    How is debit card fraud handled?

    Debit card fraud may be handled differently depending on whether your card is physically lost or stolen. This is usually the case for credit cards, too. Many of the processes we're about to describe may apply to credit card fraud.

    If your card is lost or stolen

    You should report a lost or stolen debit card immediately. You may not be liable if you contact your financial institution within 60 days of the transaction date. In these cases, your current card is often canceled and replaced with an entirely new card. Usually, all of this is also true if your credit card is lost or stolen.

    For both debit and credit cards, card issuers often have the ability to lock your card to prevent unauthorized use. You might even be able to toggle a card lock yourself through your mobile banking app.

    If you still have your card

    Fraudulent activity can happen even if you have your debit card with you. The best practice is to report unrecognized activity right away. Your card issuer will work to gather information and explain the steps they'll take to resolve the issue and protect your information.

    If fraud occurs on your checking account, your card issuer may cancel your debit card and close the account. After that, you should receive a new checking account number and a new debit card. The routing number won't change because it identifies the financial institution. Nevertheless, you should update any services that use your checking account number, such as direct deposit and automatic payments.

    How does Chase monitor purchases?

    With Chase account alerts, we can text, email or call you as soon as we notice suspicious or unusual activity on your account. If we cannot reach you to verify a purchases, we might place a temporary hold on your online activity to make sure it's you and not someone else using your account.

    Go to our Security Center to learn more about the steps we take to keep your information safe.

    Debit card vs. credit card fraud protection

    Fraud protection on both types of card is similar. Cards themselves have several security components: unique card numbers, chips, plus three-digit and four-digit CVVs.

    In addition, most card issuers monitor all debit and credit card transactions for unusual activity. When a transaction is identified as unusual, you could be contacted by your bank, or the transaction could be declined to protect your account.

    Even though your card issuer normally monitors purchases, you can report a transaction you don't recognize. When you do, exactly what happens depends on the institution and the situation. Usually, your issuer takes careful steps to investigate the reported activity, working with you and the merchant or payee to resolve the issue. 

    Is it better to use a credit card or debit card online?

    We understand the importance of protecting your credit card from unwanted charges. While you can often choose between a debit card or credit card for online shopping, there are other features to weigh when deciding which card to use, such as earning rewards on your purchases. Many rewards credit cards can align with your online shopping habits, helping you to rack up points on purchases.

    Should you use credit cards or debit cards for big purchases?

    Sometimes you may need to make a big purchase but don't want money from your bank account to be withdrawn all at once. Here's when you might consider using your credit card.

    Using your credit card for a big purchase is one way to earn a high number of reward points. You could also receive more points if your card is new and comes with a new cardmember bonus, also known as a signup bonus. This is because a large purchase could help you meet the spending requirement for that bonus faster than making many small purchases would.

    Which type of card is best for rewards

    Paying for your purchases with a rewards credit card comes with many benefits. The exact card that is best for you depends on your lifestyle, spending habits and general financial goals.

    When comparing rewards credit cards, here are two main features to review:

    • Rewards program: It's not difficult to find a credit card that allows you to earn points on purchases. Some cards allow you to earn rewards at accelerated rates on certain purchase categories, such as gas stations and drugstores. Consider where you spend money most often when reviewing rewards programs and deciding which credit card to use.
    • Sign-up bonus: You may receive bonus rewards points if you spend a certain dollar amount within some months of opening an account. As you compare sign-up bonuses for credit cards, try to calculate if you can meet the spending requirement. If you can't meet the threshold, that credit card is probably not the best fit for you. 

    In conclusion

    At Chase, we take fraud and identity theft seriously and hope this information helps you decide how to shop safely online. Debit cards and credit cards are generally safe for online shopping. Whichever you decide to use, rest assured that your Chase credit and debit card purchases have fraud monitoring. 

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