YouTube Video on Debit Cards: Know the Risks

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is pleased to announce the release of the fourth short film in a six-part series. The film, Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards: Know Your Rights, demonstrates the risks in using a debit card.


The 4-minute film is about a single mom named Sabine who learns that her debit card has been compromised; a fraudulent $312 purchase was made in a different state.  With only a few hundred dollars left in her account, Sabine has barely enough money left to pay bills while the bank investigates the fraudulent activity.


What could Sabine have done differently? Is there a happy ending in store for Sabine? Watch the video to find out. If you like it, we hope you will share it with friends and family.


The film demonstrates that debit cards typically put consumers at much greater risk than credit cards because they offer less legal protection in the event of fraudulent purchases. And because debit cards access funds directly from your bank account, your money will remain missing while you and your bank sort out any theft, which could mean bounced checks, late fees, and numerous other problems.


A lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised debit card can result in your bank account being wiped out by a thief, without using your PIN number.  Even if you promptly report the loss to your bank, the bank is not obligated to restore the funds to your account for several weeks while it investigates.  During this time period, you may not have your funds available in your account to pay your mortgage, rent, loans, or other bills.  Many people cannot afford to be without their money for that length of time. And if you wait too long to report the loss, you may not be able to recover the stolen funds at all.


The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recommends that consumers never use (or even carry) debit cards (also known as check cards) because of their risks and their limited consumer protections.


Learn more about payment options and your rights by reading PRC's Fact Sheet 32: Paper or Plastic: What Have You Got to Lose?. The guide explains:

  • the pluses and minuses of credit cards, charge cards, debit cards and ATM cards
  • the consumer protections available for different payment methods
  • what to do about unauthorized charges or lost cards
  • the details about gift cards, prepaid cards, store valued cards, checks, mobile payments, drafts, cashier's checks and money orders
  • practical tips for limiting the risk of fraud

We have additional educational guides available on our website and we invite you to use them to protect your privacy!