9 Ways to Keep Your Credit and Debit Card Safe This Holiday Season

Posted November 09 2016
by PenFed Team
family shopping for the holidays

The holiday season is almost here, which probably means you’re out shopping for gifts or you’re heading home to visit family and friends for the holidays—or maybe both! Whatever your holiday plans may be, your credit and debit cards are most likely along for the ride. To make your holiday as stress-free as possible, we have some tips on how to keep your cards safe this season.

  1. Keep your cards safe while traveling. When you’re away from home, you probably don’t need a wallet stuffed with credit cards. Carry just what you’ll use: that means you have less to lose if your wallet is stolen. Better yet, consider utilizing a digital wallet service like: Apple Pay™, Android Pay™, and Samsung Pay™. PenFed supports all three services, so regardless of what type of mobile phone you have, you’re covered! One last thing before you go, remember to let your financial institution know you’re traveling— otherwise they may accidentally assume that the sudden flurry of card activity that’s occurring in another state or country, could potentially be fraud.
  2. Get security alerts. Most financial institutions let you set up alerts to immediately inform you of any suspicious card activity—typically with a text message to your phone. PenFed offers security text alerts for both credit and debit cards.
  3. Get a chip card. Both credit and debit cards now come with EMV chip-enabled technology that provides extra security for in-store transactions. If your card doesn’t have a chip, contact your financial institution to request one.
  4. Utilize online or mobile banking. Spotting fraud fast means you can fix problems faster, so check your account online or by mobile. If you spot any transactions you didn’t authorize, contact your financial institution right away to dispute the charge.
  5. Review your credit report. While keeping an eye on your account will help you find out if your credit or debit card has been stolen, reviewing your credit report regularly is the best way to tell if you’ve been a victim of identity theft. If someone is opening fraudulent accounts in your name, you’ll see it here first. If your identity has been stolen, the FTC has a step-by-step guide to dealing with the problem.
  6. Beware of phishing. Not all credit card fraud is the result of a high-tech hack: phishing is when scammers convince you to give them your financial information. A scammer could call or email you, and say things like: your account information needs to be verified to prevent fraud. Or they will attempt to alarm you with scare tactics, such as threatening to decline a purchase or close your account if you don’t provide the personal information they seek. These scammers can be very convincing, but you should never give out your credit card number or personal information by phone or email if you did not initiate the call or online transaction. If you are not sure whether a message is legitimate, contact the company directly and ask.
  7. Only shop at trusted retailers. Don’t give your credit or debit card information to someone you don’t trust. Shopping at big name retailers (especially online) is the safest bet.
  8. Only enter your credit card number on secure pages. When you’re shopping online, be sure you’re entering your financial information on a secure page: there should be an HTTPS before the page address and a little lock icon beside it.
  9. Report a stolen card immediately. If your card is lost or stolen, report it to your financial institution right away so it can be deactivated and closed before any fraudulent activity occurs.

Keep your financial activity safe with PenFed

PenFed is committed to keeping your financial information secure. If you haven’t already registered for card security alerts, now is a great time to do so. And remember, contact us immediately if your credit or debit card is ever lost or stolen, or you suspect fraud.

Not yet a cardholder? PenFed has a great selection of credit card programs to choose from, whether you’re looking for great rewards, low fees, or both!

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