Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Heads Up

I don't open/look at my banking account often, mostly just once or twice a month to schedule paying my bills. Because I'm expecting a reasonably sized deposit and I had a couple of minutes with nothing to do I opened the Bank account to see if the deposit had been made. It hadn't but there was an interesting debit from a California Harbor Freight for $272 USD and change at the top of the statement. First problem: I'm in Tucson, second problem; I don't buy crap from Harbor Freight.

I called the bank, fast response, no permahold and they put a stop on my Debit card and started the process of issuing a new one. All that is neat and good but here is the kicker: they can/will do nothing about the charge until it finishes processing, it other words the money is taken from my account. That sucks, not so much because I will lose $272 USD during the dispute phase but the fact that it has to go through the dispute phase before it is returned. In addition it requires another phone call to the bank in a couple of days when the withdrawal has cleared to dispute the withdrawal.

Here is the bottom line: I will never use a Debit card again. While that doesn't eliminate the chance of the card being hacked it will or should decrease the odds of it being hacked. From now on I will use a credit card for all the things I've used Debit cards for up to this time. With a credit card if it gets hacked, the charge or charges are removed and that is the end of the story plus there is a very active watch by the bank for fraud.  As a side benefit there are miles/cash back on credit cards that are not on Debit cards. I should have done this long ago.

Be careful out there, hear and check your bank statement often.



  1. Hi Ken,
    I'm sorry to read that your debit card had been hacked. It happens to me a few years ago, but with my credit card. Unfortunately I have to say that with a credit card it can happen in the same way. If an amount is already charged to your account then the credit card company is not able to cancel the process too. You will get back the money after informing the police and filling a few forms (at least in Germany).
    But you are right. There is a better monitoring on credit cards. I was informed immediately after they recognized heavy and unusual payment activities.
    I've setup SMS notification for every credit card transaction now. So I will get informed on my mobile every time the card will be used.


  2. Thanks Stefan,

    Just part of living in todays world but still a PITA. I like the SMS notification. Who do you use?

    BTW, while my credit cards have been hacked a few times this was the first time for a debit card. Mostly the post was a heads up about the unique problems with debit cards and why I believe you are better off using credit vs. debit cards.


  3. Here in Canada Debit cards (interac) have been a way of life for many years, my first one was in 1984... Had to change my PIN once in a while and get notify by my bank if suspicious activity is suspected, hence why it is a wise thing to notify them prior to going away on vacation etc so they wont freeze it while im shopping in the US or whatever...
    Bottom line our Debit cards are as protected as our CC, here in Canada anyway.
    Once they suspected a breach, may have been compromised, so they cancelled my card and send me a new one by mail then my temporary new PIN in another mailing. Great except that I was without access for a few days!!!

    Bob, whose cards are protected fiercely by Rudy :-)