Credit vs. Debit Cards: Which Is Safest for Online Shopping?

MakeUseOf | 9/18/2019 | Simon Batt
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Financial fraud can be devastating, but what are the differences between a credit card and a debit card scam? Should you use one kind of card over the other when buying online?

Let’s break down the fraud protection for both types of cards—is one better than the other?

Card - Fraud - Liability - Fees - Misuse

When your card is stolen or used in financial fraud, you may find yourself under “liability.” Liability is when you have fees imposed upon you due to the misuse of your card. These fees can add to the list of problems from having your card scammed, so it’s essential to keep your liability fees low.

Liability with credit cards will vary depending on your country. For the US, Experian states the maximum amount of money you have to pay in liabilities is $50. Sometimes, the bank won’t bother with this fee, and you’ll get your dispute resolved without having to pay.

Debit - Cards - Card - Stolen - Scammer

Debit cards work a little differently. If you report the card as stolen or compromised before the scammer makes transactions, you won’t pay any liabilities. If you report the fraud up to two days after the scam, your liability is $50. Wait until 60 days, and it grows to $500. After 60 days, the liability becomes unlimited, meaning you could potentially lose out on claiming your money back.

For some countries, getting your scammed money back isn’t just a courtesy; it’s the law. Unfortunately, it can depend on which card you use and how you use it.

Credit - Cards - US - Fair - Credit

For credit cards, the US has the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). If you make a purchase of $50 or more with a credit card, you can raise problems with the card issuer. These reasons can range from an item lost in the mail to a faulty product on arrival.

The UK has its version of this act called Section 75....
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