Think About Your Cards (Before the Next Retail Data Breach)

As data breaches exposing payment card information continue to make headlines, there are a couple of things you can consider to reduce their potential impact on you.


While you might prefer using a debit card for any number of reasons (budgeting, etc.), it also could allow someone to empty your account very quickly if they were to get your card's information.

You can dispute the purchases that you didn’t make, but the process can be lengthy (especially if you are waiting on funds to pay your bills). Most disputes must be resolved within 45 days. However, they may take up to 90 days if you opened your account in the last 30 days or the dispute involved a point-of-sale transaction (purchase in a retail location) or a foreign transaction. If the bank takes longer than 10 business days to complete its investigation (20 business days for new accounts), it must generally put the disputed amount back into your account while it finishes the investigation. 

You'll also want to keep a close eye on your bank account if you're using your debit card. If you aren't paying attention, you could lose the chance to recover any lost money. If someone makes unauthorized transactions with your debit card number (your card isn't lost), you aren't liable for the transactions if you report them within 60 days of receiving your statement. However, if you wait more than 60 days, you can be held responsible for all of the unauthorized transactions.


If you've registered your prepaid card with the card issuer, you have protection in case of an error or unauthorized transaction. Generally, you can’t be held responsible for lost money when you report it immediately.