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Are Checks Safer to Use Than Debit Cards?

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Prompted by a post on our Facebook page, I started thinking about the debit and credit cards systems and compared that to using a check. Here are some thoughts…

Our society is becoming more mobile with phones that are basically mini computers at our fingertips not to mention the continually developing apps with instantaneous information. With the world going mobile, for many it may seem that writing out a check is an old, inconvenient way to pay a bill or buy your goods at a store. But with today’s breaches in sensitive data information, we have to ask the question – are checks still safer to use than debit cards?

To me, the answer is a give and take. Here’s why.

Checks have been a standard in how most people have paid for goods and services for decades. Many older adults that are not computer savvy rely on checks as a means of payment and that is unlikely to go away any time soon. There are hundreds of thousands of people that still do not use debit cards. It is cash or check only for them.

However, today’s generation that is now learning how to manage their money mainly use debit cards and most don’t even have a checking account or if they do, it is mainly used for debit transactions. Today’s generation has been brought up on computers and instant payment processes. Many banks allow you to take a picture of a check you received and have it instantly deposited into your account with funds available, once verified, of course. Instant gratification…

So what is the safety issues here? The safety lies within the computer processes. Hacking into large companies data banks has become an issue over and over again. Once you pay with a debit card, you have to use a pin number to process the charge. That pin can be stored in the computer – you never know if the store saves them or not.

Here are few thoughts about how your accounts can be safer when using debit cards.

* Trust no one…. restrict your purchases to businesses you know well locally and save online purchases for your credit card. A credit card has additional safeguards for theft protection in the event it was stolen. Plus the money is not coming directly out of your account. If there is a breach, your cash reserves and your identity may be better protected.

* Use checks to pay as many bills as possible. This provides a paper trail plus hackers don’t normally take the time to steal check information. The debit and credit cards provide a faster method to swipe and use for them. Plus many businesses can run your check immediately for payout too so you get the best of both worlds…. paying by check and immediate processing.

Think about how you can best protect your accounts and your identity so you don’t become a target to hackers. How do you protect your accounts?

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