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Protect the security of your debit and credit cards

February 04, 2014

By Pam Leibfried

Updated April 2016 to add links to additional security-related blog posts.

In the last few years, we’ve seen multiple large-scale security breaches at national retailers and healthcare companies – and even at the IRS. Many Alliant members are understandably concerned about improving the safety and security of their credit and debit cards. Below, we've outlined a few tips to keep your cards more secure. And we've also included a list of some more in-depth resources where you can learn more about this topic.

Precautionary measures you can take:

Only use cards with zero-liability protection. Alliant Visa® credit and debit cardholders are protected against fraudulent purchases with Visa's zero-liability protection.1

Use a digital wallet service like Visa® Checkout for online shopping. Visa Checkout is a hassle free online payment service that you can use with your Alliant Visa® Platinum or Platinum Rewards credit card. Visa Checkout lets you pay at participating online retailers by simply entering your username and password. It's a great way to manage your online shopping experiences with a single account, without sharing your credit card number with every online retailer from which you purchase.

Check your accounts for unauthorized transactions. If you have an Alliant Visa Platinum or Platinum Rewards credit card or an Alliant Visa debit card, it's easy to monitor your card activity anywhere, anytime by simply logging in to Alliant Online Banking and clicking through to your credit card or checking account.

Set up automated notifications so that you receive an alert when your Alliant debit card is used. 

Treat your credit and debit cards like cash. You would never leave $500 sitting on the seat of your car or on your table in a restaurant, so don't leave your credit card sitting out in the open either.

Be careful when entering your PIN. Pay attention to your surroundings in the checkout line or at an ATM and shield the keypad from view as much as you can while entering your PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Change, then protect, your PIN. Change the PIN on your card, then once you've done so, keep your PIN secure.

  • DO NOT share your PIN with anyone else. When you share your PIN with someone, it's the equivalent of giving him or her a signed check for the entire balance in your bank accounts.
  • Never write your PIN on your debit or credit card or on a sticky note attached to the card.
  • Don't carry a record of the PIN anywhere near the card (in your wallet or purse, on your desk if the card is by your computer, etc.).

Sign and activate new cards ASAP. When you receive a new card in the mail, sign it immediately and call to activate it as soon as you can.

Cut up or shred old cards and shred all card-related mail.

  • Don't throw away a whole, intact credit or debit card after it expires. Instead, cut it up or shred it.
  • Shred your old paper account statements and switch to eStatements that you can view securely online. This prevents "dumpster divers" who go through trash cans on garbage pick-up day from using the information on your printed account statements to steal your identity.
  • Shred any credit offers you receive instead of throwing them intact into your garbage or recycling, as they could be used to open lines of credit or steal your identity.
      

More security resources:

The Online Security section of Alliant's website and the Security IQ section of the Money Mentor blog provide you with further resources to protect your financial assets from fraud and identity theft. Here are just a few of the topics covered:

Additionally, Visa® maintains a robust library of materials on credit card security and preventing fraud.