Is a debit card secure?

Many people are skeptical about the security of debit cards. It is true that debit cards represent the entire bank balance at any point in time. A debit card would enable the bank account holder to cash the entire amount in the checking account. Unfortunately, the identity thief also knows this. This raises the question of debit card security. To ensure that the debit card cannot be used by any person other than the person to whom it was issued, the banks may give a PIN number. This is a four-digit number. It is sent in a sealed envelope to the residential address of the debit cardholder.

The debit card holder has to furnish this number every time he or she chooses to swipe the debit card. Without entering the pin code, nobody can get cash from the debit card. However, identifying the PIN may not pose much of a problem to people who have considerable experience in credit card fraud.

This is the reason a debit card’s Pin number needs to be changed periodically, and committed to memory every time. It should also not be scribbled anywhere or disclosed to anyone. The person using debit card secured with a pin code should check if the transaction is correct in all respects before typing the code, because it is the one that gives access to the funds under the debit card.
Pin based system for debit card security is mostly related to online transactions related to a debit card. Another way of securing the debit card funds is through signatures. This is also similar to the PIN code procedure, i.e., the individual would be required to sign for activating the debit card.
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This method, as of now is confined to offline transactions. The problem with this type of security is that it is difficult to identify signatures instantly and there are people who are good at forgery. Many banks advise their customers to write on the back of the card that the person accepting payments should insist on some identification proof, preferably photo identification.
This stipulation can of course, only be implemented for offline transactions. Notwithstanding such precautions, there are cases of fraudulent withdrawals from debit cards. The loss, however, can be minimized by informing the bank at the earliest notice of any such fraudulent transactions that may appear in the account. The debit card holder is obligated to inform the bank at the earliest if he or she misplaces the debit card. Keeping the debit card where it cannot be stolen is the responsibility of the cardholder. As of now, the system is not fool proof, but it is not as if other payment systems are. Risks of fraudulent withdrawal of monies exist in all types of monetary transactions. New methods are constantly evolving to control frauds, and reduce risks associated with such instruments. The fact remains that debit cards are more convenient than carrying money around. The present system is admittedly susceptible to misuse, but there are very few debit card users who have suffered major losses. Considering this fact, it can be said that debit cards are fairly secure.

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