Published on August 14, 2020
It’s OK to admit it: You like shopping online and having things delivered straight to your door.
You’re always first in line. You get the best parking spot. And your list of favorite stores is now much more diverse than what’s located in the local mall.
Just click, shop, and wait for your delivery.
All this freedom and convenience, however, comes with some added responsibility.
While you’re enjoying grocery shopping from your couch or having your flowers dropped off in your backyard, remember that every time you place an order online or swipe your card in person, your credit and debit card numbers are stored by the merchant.
From your fast food lunch on the run to the corner store for milk, your information is now theirs, and most will take good care of them. But you can help too. In addition to shopping with reputable companies, there are ways you can limit your liability should something happen.
Here are a few tips to help you Pay it Safe.
Debit card vs credit card; there’s a difference
They’re both substitutes for cash, but that’s really where the similarities end.
A debit card is connected to a checking account. One of the benefits of using a debit card to make purchases is that you’re more likely to stay within your budget, because there’s a finite amount of hard-earned money in that account.
A credit card, on the other hand, is more like a loan that you agree to pay back. Credit cards allow you to expand your budget by offering high-dollar credit limits in exchange for a promise to pay interest if the total is not paid at the end of the month.
Which one should I use?
Remember the differences between the two when you get ready to make your purchase. Credit cards offer you added protection thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act, which limits your liability to $50 in the case of fraud, among other protections.
When it comes to “high dollar” items, hotel and car rentals, or even online subscriptions, consider using a credit card.
Like credit cards, there is protection against unauthorized debit card purchases through the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (Federal Reserve Board Regulation E). The downside is, you have less time to report the fraud, and it could impact your checking account balance until it is resolved.
Pay off your balance
If you are going to use a credit card for everyday purchases, such as food and gas, be careful about overspending. Credit card debt can get out of hand quickly. The average credit card debt per household in June 2020 was $8,509, according to WalletHub.com. Try to only spend as much as your budget will allow to pay off the balance at the end of each month. Emergencies happen, and everyone needs some help every now and then. But if everyday expenses are going on the card, your balance will grow quickly.
Staying on top of your finances is easy
However you choose to spend, you should monitor your accounts closely.
At Community Choice, if you need to freeze your debit card or adjust your spending limits, use the Card Controls menu in e-Banking or the mobile app. You can monitor your account balance or set balance alerts to prevent overdraft fees and a negative balance.
You can also quickly and easily freeze your Community Choice credit card in e-Banking and our mobile app if you feel it has been compromised. And, if you’re a Visa Signature Rewards cardholder, you’ll get the added benefit of cash back on your purchase.
When you’re shopping online, do your research before reaching for your debit or credit card. For more on determining a secure site and tips for shopping safely, revisit our blog from earlier this year.
For help setting up a digital wallet, which allows you to load your credit and debit card information into your smartphone for no-touch payments, check out this video from our website to add your credit card to your digital wallet.
Community Choice wants to reward you for using your debit and credit cards with our Pay it Safe, Play it Safe promotion. Use your cards 15 or more times in August and September, and you’ll be entered to win one of three great prizes! For more on Pay it Safe, and for a link for the complete list of rules, click here.