Debit Card Safety

What you need to know to use your debit card safely and securely.

People First Since 1912

Protect You and Your Money

Debit card fraud and ATM theft are on the rise. The best way to protect yourself from fraud is to open an account at a bank that takes security very seriously. At Vista Bank, your debit card comes with built-in EMV chip technology that provides an added layer of protection from all forms of fraud. By following these additional tips, you can keep yourself, your card number, and your money safe from criminals who seek to do you harm.

  • Debit cards are used to pay for items with money from your bank account, which make them especially enticing targets for cash-hungry fraudsters. Protect yourself from skimming, phishing, and other forms of fraud by following these ten tips:
  • Regularly update your contact information with your bank, including your cell phone number, email address, physical address. This will make it faster for the bank to notify you of any suspicious transactions.
  • Be smart with online transactions. Shop with credible merchants and look for secure transaction symbols like the “lock” icon on your browser and a URL that starts with “https.” Avoid using public hotspots for online payments.
  • Regularly check your account balance and transaction history. If you see anything suspicious, immediately report it to the bank.
  • Take note of the emergency hotline/customer service number on the back of your card and call it immediately if your card is lost or stolen.
  • If you’re traveling and plan to use your card abroad, let the bank know your travel dates and destination, as well as any stops along the way.
  • Look out for anything that looks suspicious on an ATM. Shake the card reader (where you insert your card) to ensure that there are no foreign objects attached to it. Check the PIN pad to see if there are any hidden cameras or false keypads. If anything looks crooked, loose, or damaged, it might have been tampered with and you’ll want to find another ATM.
  • Be vigilant of your surroundings when approaching and using an ATM. Make it a habit to cover your hand and keypad as you enter your PIN.
  • Never share your ATM PIN with anyone.
  • If you receive a new card, make sure to destroy your old one by cutting across the magnetic strip and chip.
  • If you feel your card information has been compromised in any way, please contact the bank so that a new card can be issued to you. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • Debit card fraud at the ATM can lead to money being drained from a bank account. Consumers should be aware of the risks and be cautious when withdrawing cash from any ATM. Follow the four “checkpoints” below to help prevent your debit card from potential criminals.
  • Check the location. Try to use ATMs that get a lot of foot traffic or are in brightly lit areas. Follow the same rule for debit card purchases – especially at gas stations. When you fill up your car, know that the pumps furthest from the store entrance may be more attractive to criminals.
  • Check the card reader. Be on the lookout for anything odd about the ATM or point-of-sale machine. If your card doesn’t enter an ATM smoothly, for example, a fraudster could have a skimmer device attached to the opening. Consider going elsewhere for cash.
  • Check your account. Review your checking account regularly for unauthorized transactions. If your card is compromised, you’ll have to act fast to avoid losing money. If you report a loss within two days, the most you can lose is $50, according to federal law. But you risk losing up to $500 from your account if you wait up to 60 days — or the entire amount in your account if you wait longer.
  • Check with your bank. Ask your bank for a new card if you believe your card has been compromised, even if there’s not yet evidence of fraud. This also allows your financial institution to take the proper steps to secure the machine in question. You’ll be protecting yourself and other customers, too.