Your Husband Is Wrong

Brittany asks if a debit card has more risk than a credit card. Her husband says it does. Dave tells Brittany it has the same protection as long as it's under VISA or MasterCard.

QUESTION: Brittany on Twitter asks if a debit card has more risk than a credit card. Her husband says it does. Dave tells Brittany it has the same protection as long as it’s under VISA or MasterCard.

ANSWER: A debit card has the exact same protection for theft and fraud that a credit card has if it is a VISA or MasterCard debit card. In both cases, in the event that your number is stolen and the money is misused, VISA and MasterCard require the member bank to replace all the money—or in the case of a credit card, just take it off your bill. You have to remember that your debit card is two things. It can be processed like a credit card or it can be used as an ATM card. If it goes through the VISA system, those transactions are 100% protected just like a credit card transaction is. If you use your debit card as an ATM card—meaning you entered your PIN—then in that case, you’re protections are only whatever your ATM has. You’re no longer in the VISA or MasterCard system. You’re now in your bank’s ATM pay system. That is only as protected as the ATM is. That depends on your particular bank and what deal you’ve got there. Most of the time, it’s not very well protected there.