Debit Card Do’s And Don’ts; How To Handle Your Debit Card Better

Debit Card Do’s And Don’ts; How To Handle Your Debit Card Better

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While it might be very unassuming, your debit card is one of the most important things in your wallet. Why? Because anyone who opens a bank account will likely own one, it can become an easy target for scammers.

Even Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has made it a point to trigger a fraud alert about unauthorised use of credit and debit cards. The BNM update went on to explain how victims were led to believe they were reporting unauthorised purchases on their cards when they were actually helping scammers get access to their bank accounts instead.

So, for your own peace of mind, you should also know how to keep your card safe.

Do’s and don’ts for your debit card

Here’s a quick crash course in debit card safety. Let’s get started!

Debit card do’s

  • Understand your debit card inside out

When you get your card, the first thing you should do is to understand its terms of use completely. Take note of any fees and charges it comes with, such as withdrawal charges, overdraft fees, interest charges, and any charges for replacing a lost or stolen card. 

  • Get banking/transaction alerts

In Malaysia, some banking alerts are automatically activated for you, for example every time the money in your bank account is used for payments, you will receive alerts to notify you of this transaction. There are also other banking alerts you can turn on, such as for every time you receive money in your account, unusual activity or big online transactions. Pay attention to these alerts and if in doubt, call the number on the back of your card to find out more.

  • Enable authorisation for online purchase

By default, authorisation is almost always automatically turned on for your debit card, especially when you want to make purchases online. However, you should still contact your bank to ensure that you have 2-factor authentication turned on, for example registering for a One Time Password (OTP) for all your debit card transactions online.

  • Set a comfortable daily spending limit on your card

When you get your debit card, one of the first things you should do is set the daily withdrawal limit on your card. You can set it using the ATM, through the bank counter, or via online banking applications. Doing this will allow you to keep to your budget, and it will also prevent fraud.

  • Beware of phishing websites

Phishing websites involves setting up a website that looks exactly like your bank’s official website, whereby upon logging in, your login information will be stolen via the phishing website. Which is why, you should always ensure that you’re on your bank’s official website, and never trust external links with unsecured sites.

  • Install a firewall and antivirus software on your computer

It is very convenient to use your debit card for your online transactions. But before you do that, you should always ensure that your computer is equipped with a firewall and antivirus software, so no malicious software can extract your financial information.

  • Go paperless

Now here’s a point that might not be obvious, but you should definitely go paperless with your bank account statements and alerts. The reason for this is simple; if you go paperless, you will reduce the possibility of people stealing hard copies of your account statements and finding out your account information. Plus, you also get to reduce paper usage.

Besides knowing the right way to manage your debit card, it’s just as important to know what you are doing wrongly when using it.

Debit card don’ts

  • Never disclose your TAC number

For any online purchases using your debit card, you will be sent a TAC (Transaction Authorisation Code) number, which you will have to key in to approve the transaction. This TAC number should never be disclosed to anyone under any circumstances. Only you should have this number, and no one else.

  • Never reveal your PIN

The same goes with the PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your bank account, which should never be disclosed to anyone. If someone has your PIN, there’s no limit to what they can do with your debit card. They can withdraw money from your account, they can make purchases using your debit card, and much more.

  • Never transact using your debit card on an unsecured network

This includes a cafe’s wi-fi, airport wi-fi, or any type of public wi-fi network you can connect to. This is because hackers can access the information you send online using an unsecured network, which makes it easier to steal your banking information.

  • Avoid obvious PINs

And by obvious, we mean never use anything like your date of birth, your phone number, identity card number, or names of family members. If you use easily guessed PINs, anyone who gets a hold of your debit card can quickly figure it out. 

  • Never keep your PIN with your debit card

Another obvious point – but if your card is stolen together with the PIN, the thief can instantly login into your account before you even realise your card is missing.

  • Don’t give your card details to unauthorised persons

Beware of any SMS or phone call asking for your card or banking details. You should look for the official contact number of your card provider to call and confirm the requests first.

  • Never leave your debit card lying around

Now this one might be a bit obvious, but it’s important enough for us to state here. Never leave your debit card at places where anyone can have access to it. If you’re not using your debit card, store it in a safe place.

A debit card is a useful tool when used correctly

When you are aware of what you can and cannot do with your debit card, it becomes second nature to use it responsibly.

It is quick, secure, and convenient, which makes it one of the most advantageous payment methods you can use. However, just like any tool, there is a possibility that it might be misused. Just take the time to understand how to use your debit card properly, and you’re all set!

For more tips and tricks on your debit card, you can visit

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