Consumer Payment Card News

Card Safety

Although debit card and ATM transactions are among the most secure method of payment, the bad guys have ways to figure stuff out. Therefore, the month of June as been designated as “ATM & Debit Card Safety Awareness Month.” Discover’s PULSE ATM/debit network has offered a number of tips to combat debit card and ATM fraud as well as other types of financial fraud and identity theft. Here ya go . . .


* Protect your PIN: ATM transactions and PIN debit purchases require the use of a personal identification number (PIN). Memorize your PIN; never write it on your card or store it with your card. Never let someone else enter your PIN for you. When entering your PIN, block the view of others by shielding the PIN pad.

* Survey your surroundings: Before making a withdrawal at an ATM, take a look at your surroundings. Watch for any sort of suspicious activity and, if anything appears to be out of the ordinary, or if the ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, leave the area and try another location.

* Keep an eye out for terminal tampering: If you suspect the ATM or POS terminal you are using has been altered, go to another terminal. Signs to watch for include unusual-looking card slots, plastic overlays on the PIN pad, or the appearance of damage.

* Report a lost or stolen card at once: If you misplace your card, leave it in a public place or your card is stolen, immediately call your financial institution to limit the chance that it will be used improperly. Quickly notifying your financial institution also will limit your potential liability for unauthorized transactions.

* Take someone with you: Whenever possible, it is a good idea to take another person with you when using an ATM or outdoor POS terminal, such as at a gas station. This is especially true when visiting an ATM at night, even if it is indoors.

* Never disclose information about your card in response to an unsolicited e-mail or request: E-mail is a common channel for fraudulent activity. Never provide your debit or credit card number, PIN or any other personal information to any entity in response to an unsolicited e-mail or telephone request. Your financial institution will never ask you to disclose your PIN.

* Have your card ready: Minimize your time at the ATM by having your debit card out and ready to use. Do not let a stranger assist you in making a transaction, even if you have trouble or your card gets stuck. Never count your money while at the ATM.

* Review your account statements for unauthorized transactions: One of the best ways to maintain account security is to check your account statements frequently. With online access, financial institutions are making it easier than ever to check your account daily. Report any errors, including unauthorized transactions, as soon as possible.


* Monitor your accounts frequently for suspected fraudulent or
unauthorized activity.
* Shred all financial documents and records before disposing of them.
* Never use your PIN as a password.
* Destroy unused or expired debit, ATM and credit cards.
* Remove mail promptly from your mailbox.
* Match receipts to monthly billing statements.
* Memorize PINs, passwords and Social Security numbers.
* Use longer, more complex passwords and PINs, and change them
* Sign all debit and credit cards immediately upon receipt.
* Notify account providers of address changes in advance.
* Immediately report a lost or stolen card and any unauthorized
activity on any account.

For additional information on protecting your debit card and your financial information, visit

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