Keep Your Payment Cards Safe this Holiday Season
Last year, at the height of holiday shopping season, hackers stole more than 40 million debit and credit card numbers when they breached Target's point of sale system.
Now, as Americans gear up for another season of holiday purchasing, there are some tips they can follow to help ensure their debit and/or credit card information isn't stolen or compromised.
Sword & Shield Director of PCI and EI3PA Services John Harmon said consumers need to be aware of whose money they are using.
"Debit cards are paid directly out of the consumers bank account, so if your card was compromised it could result in your checking account being emptied resulting is a cascade of other issues," he said. "When you use a credit card you are using the money of the company that extended you credit, so if there is a problem, the credit card issuer can help correct the issue without further issues being generated for the consumer."
Consumers can also use their new "Chip and PIN," or Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards. The chip-enabled cards are more secure because the use of the card requires a PIN to be entered for the transaction to process.
However, Harmon warns that most retailers don't have the technology to run the cards based on the microchip and still run them based on the magnetic strip.
Other safety tips include:
- Checking Your Account Activity
- Keeping Track of Your Cards
- Choosing Your Method of Payment Wisely
Harmon also advised that merchants and customers cooperate on safety measures at the point-of-sale.
"One of the biggest things that both consumers and merchants can do during the holiday season is for merchants to ask for ID when using payments cards and for consumers to not get upset or angry when asked for ID," he said. They should, instead, thank the merchant for checking and helping to reduce payment card fraud."
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