Color of Money: A real debit card scare

Michelle Singletary on

"For the last two years, I have withdrawn money via the bankcard just one time when credit card terminals went down in a store," one Maryland reader wrote. "Once every three or four weeks, I go inside the bank to the teller and take out enough cash for several weeks. The crooks and bank skimmers are not going to catch me."

Many folks said they just don't feel safe enough using debit cards.

"It is much better to use a credit card for purchases," another person wrote. "If you spot -- or your credit card company spots -- a fraudulent charge, you are not liable for it. You are not out any money while they are investigating the issue. I keep refusing the debit card my bank keeps trying to get me to use."

If your credit card is used without your permission, you can only be held liable for up to $50. And even then most banks won't try to collect that from you.

Still for many people -- those prone to getting into debt -- a debit card is a better plastic choice. You just have to be extremely careful.

Thankfully, a very responsive bank employee is working with my godmother to reverse the fraudulent charges.

After the incident, I went over some debit-card safety precautions with my godmother because I never want to hear what I heard in her voice again. It scared me.


Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook ( Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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