- Q: Is it safer to use a debit or a credit card for shopping online?
Shopping online is convenient and rewarding, and the vast majority of online transactions go through safely. Visa debit and credit cards are equally protected, whether shopping online or off. Visa's Zero Liability policy gives you 100 percent protection against card theft, loss, or unauthorized use.i You won't have to cover any fraudulent charges made using your Visa card. And you can get even more protection by activating Verified by Visa, which confirms your identity with an extra personal password when you shop at participating online merchants.
When shopping online, it's wise to only visit trusted merchants. Avoid sites that require you to provide your Social Security number, and never send payment information by email. Also, be sure your transactions occur in a secure environment; look for the padlock icon at the bottom of your browser window. The website address, or URL, should also begin with https:// on any pages where you enter sensitive information. It's also suggested that for online and phone orders, you buy only from merchants that request the 3-digit security code from the back of your Visa card; its extra reassurance that the card is physically in your possession during the transaction.
- 2) Does Visa have any data that would back up the concept that debit cards (or non-credit payments in general) can be used as a money-saving tool?
Paying with a debit card can actually be a great way to manage your spending. Just last year we conducted a consumer survey and found that cash expenditures can be harder to keep track of than those on cards. We asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults about their cash spending habits and almost half of respondents admitted they suffered from "mystery spending" or cash they spend but have no idea where it went.
The results also showed that 48 percent of Americans surveyed who use cash say they can't account for almost one-third of it, spending an average of $120 in a typical week, but losing track of $45. In fact, more than half (59 percent) of respondents who say their mystery spending is out of control feel it would be worse without using a debit card. Among debit cardholders we surveyed, the majority (64 percent) believe their debit card helps keep mystery spending to a minimum and four out of five say a debit card helps them track their spending. This feedback supports that debit cards can definitely be used as a money saving tool.
- 3) What are the latest trends in debit rewards programs? How can people reap the most benefits from these programs?
About 85 percent of U.S. households participate in at least one rewards program. Increasingly, consumers are looking for rewards and value for the transactions they make every day, like paying bills, buying groceries, or filling up their gas tank. As consumers turn to debit cards for these types of purchases "“ instead of cash and checks "“ more financial institutions are introducing debit rewards programs.
Often, issuers will pair up with a partner like an airline or hotel to give you the ability to earn points on a debit card toward rewards you care about. Some financial institutions also offer the ability to earn points for qualified purchases that can be redeemed through an online catalog, for items like gift cards, airline vouchers and hotel accommodations. Many financial institutions also reward their debit cardholders for other relationships they have with the institution "“ like a car loan, savings account, mortgage, etc. "“ giving those customers the ability to earn additional points or other benefits.
It's important to understand how you can earn points toward rewards "“ what purchases qualify, whether you earn points when you enter a PIN or sign for your purchases, etc. Make sure you ask these questions of your financial institution, as policies may vary.
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