EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Latest News

December 21, 2013

After Target fallout, what is safer to use: credit or debit?

While 40 million of Target shoppers had their credit and debit card information stolen, it looks like debit card users could face a much bigger hassle than credit card users.

Banks have been advising people if they shopped at Target during Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 with their debit card to cancel their current card and get a new one immediately. Under consumer protection laws, credit card and debit cards are treated differently. Under federal law, your personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card can’t exceed $50. But if a fraudster uses your debit card, you could be liable for $500 or more, depending on how quickly you report it.

Locally, Target has stores in Haverhill, Methuen and Salem, N.H.

Many experts are saying that credit cards are in fact safer to use.

“Using debit cards leave you much more exposed than a credit card,” John Ulzheimer, credit expert at CreditSesame.com, a credit management website.

The law around consumer protection laws is what gets a lot of people in trouble.

“Most people don’t keep that much money on their debit card. So even if someone used it to buy something that was 50 bucks, you could still be held liable about it,” Ulzheimer said.

Also, credit card companies have special policies in place to protect their users in the very case this happens.

“When you use a credit card, that’s not your money. It’s the bank’s. That’s not true for debit. Plus, all the major credit card companies have liability insurance where you aren’t held responsible if someone steals your information,” Ulzheimer said.

Ulzheimer says people who used their debit card at Target have more to worry about.

“They are saying that not only were the debit card numbers stolen but also the pins which makes it that much easier to hack into and use,” he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News

AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Photos of the Week