The most important thing to understand is that this is not an article explaining why people should stay away from credit cards. This is an article to help boost awareness of the dangers we all face every time we swipe.
Not everyone is fully aware of all the different possibilities thieves have created through the use of technology. Knowledge is absolutely power when it comes to the safe usage of a credit or debit card. Take a look at this brief summary of a few of the most common dangers when using a credit/debit card.
Extra phantom charges accrued
One of the most common things to look out for when using a credit or debit card is the phantom charges. Phantom charges are not necessarily erroneous, but they are certainly not planned. When staying at a hotel on vacation, it is not uncommon that the establishment will charge a deposit or resort fee to the credit card on file.
This is a perfectly acceptable practice, but it does not fare well for unprepared travelers on a budget. The best way to avoid overdraft charges or a money shortage is to plan ahead. Add at least a couple hundred dollars to the budget for these phantom charges.
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Paying at the pump
The most worrisome danger of paying at the pump is that some gas station owners charge up to a $75 deposit for gas purchases. Most people only expect a $1 holding fee, but store owners are legally allowed to charge much more as a deposit for gas purchases.
The best way to avoid the pain of overdraft charges due to random deposits and fees, it is best to simply communicate with store owners and hotel owners before doing business with that organization.
Using stand alone atm locations
The biggest worry when it comes to utilizing independent ATM locations is thieves placing information skimmers on the electronic sliding mechanism.
When customers place their cards inside the reader, thieves have placed a skimming device on the reader that automatically transfers customer’s information to their own storage device. Look for anything out of place on the reader before scanning a card.
Starting a tab at the bar
Beware of leaving a credit or debit card unattended at the bar. Just because the bartender may be an honest person, that does not necessarily mean that everyone in the bar is honest. Leaving the card for an undisclosed amount of charges is just a bit frivolous and careless financially.
Never give someone the PIN
It is never a good idea to give anyone the PIN number to a personal credit or debit card. Even if someone is the most trusted of friends, the risk is far too high to open up that opportunity.