A debit card looks like a credit card but works like an electronic check. Instead of loaning you the amount of the purchase you make, the debit card company immediately deducts the payment from your checking or savings account. If you use a debit card at a retail store, you or the cashier can run your card through a scanner. The scanner allows the store to electronically verify that your bank account has the funds and approve the transaction. Most debit cards also can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs (automated teller machines). Usually you have to enter a PIN number when you make a purchase or withdrawal. Be careful when carrying or using a debit card. Because a pin number is not always required to use a debit card, a thief could use your card and empty your bank account.
It is important to report lost or stolen debit cards right away. Your liability for unauthorized withdrawals or purchases made on your debit card depends on when you report your card lost or stolen.
- If you report your card missing within two business days of your loss, your maximum liability is $50.
- If you report the loss after two business days but within 60 days of your bank sending you a statement showing unauthorized withdrawals or purchases, your maximum liability is $500.
- If you don’t report that your card was lost or stolen within 60 days of receiving a statement showing unauthorized withdrawals or purchases, there is no limit on your liability.