Top 5 Places to Avoid Using or Swiping Your Debit Card

Top 5 Places to Avoid Using or Swiping Your Debit Card

Plastic money – that was a groundbreaking and radical change in the humans used money. No cash and yet, every transaction involving money is completed successfully – that’s magical, isn’t it? Plastic money came in two formats – credit cards and debit cards.

While the former is more like a short-term personal loan, the second one utilizes the money in a savings bank account.

Plastic money has numerous benefits, some of which are:

  • Eliminates the need for carrying cash and hence, eliminates the problem of theft or robbery.
  • Transactions take place in a jiffy. Just one swipe and done! The problem of providing exact change is also eliminated.
  • It is secure and allows encrypted transactions secured by an added layer of personal identification numbers.
  • It is widely accepted by merchants at various points of sale or POS.

While debit cards have several benefits, there are some risks and disadvantages as well. They are given in a tabular format below:

Uses disposable cashDebit card uses disposable cash in the savings account. There is no credit feature associated with it.
FeesUsing debit cards at certain POSes may attract additional charges.
 Also, using debit cards of one bank to withdraw cash from another bank’s ATM can also attract charges.
Electronic fraudThis is something one should be seriously concerned about. The number of cases of fake callers positioning themselves as bank personnel asking for debit card details and other details and pulling out money from accounts. Several high end technical devices are also used to get the details of debit cards like CVV number and PIN code to extract money from user accounts.

So, now we know that debit cards have their own fair share of advantages and disadvantages. However, that’s not what we intend to learn in this article. We intend to find out the top 5 places where you shouldn’t be using or swiping your debit card because chance of theft will be high. You don’t really want to become a victim of electronic or cyber financial crime. Do you? So, let us begin!

Top 5 Places to Avoid Using or Swiping Your Debit Card

Swiping Your Debit Card
Swiping Your Debit Card

Making IVR Payments

You have most probably never heard of this or even if you have heard, you most probably don’t remember because it is not really a common phenomenon. IVR-based payments are really not common in India but the option exists. It is very risky and the option of finding out the truth or ingenuity of the call is very difficult.

ATMs located in isolated places

You must have noticed that in order to improve their ATM services, banks are quick to install ATMs in as many locations as possible. Sometimes, in this rat race of expanding their networks, the banks end up installing ATMs in very isolated places where there is a possibility of development. Using debit cards in such ATMs is not advisable. Why not? There is no problem with the ATM itself.

It is not rigged or anything. The problem is that the possibility of loots and thefts in those areas is significantly high. You may be looted after you take out money or you may be threatened and forced into taking out all cash and hand it over to the goons. So, avoid using your debit card at such ATMs.

Avoid White Label ATMs

What are white label ATMs? Well, they ATMs which are not owned by banks. In order to increase the penetration of ATMs in rural, semi-urban and urban areas, Reserve Bank of India allowed private companies to operate ATMs.

These companies are not affiliated to banks and neither do they fall in the bank sector industry. They simply give the infrastructure through which banks can increase their reach to users. These white label ATMs accept debit cards of almost all banks.

Now, RBI has very strict guidelines and not just any company can open ATMs at will. They need to be trustworthy and have a certain amount of liquid cash available to operate. However, there is one problem. What will happen in case of a dispute? For instance, you try to use a white label ATM and though the screen shows that transaction failed and no money is dispensed, the amount you try to withdraw is simply debited from your bank account.

Who should you approach? The ATM company will send you to the bank and the bank will send you to the ATM company. No one will be ready to accept responsibility. You may end up losing your money. So, if you are using your debit card at white label ATMs, do so at your own risk.

Saving debit card details in online transactions

We are getting accustomed to online purchases. It saves time, gives the comfort of home and helps us get lazy too! Well, have you ever noticed that there are many website (e-commerce) websites out there that ask for saving your debit card details.

For example, they will either require you to save card details before you can make a payment or they will simply save the details without asking for your consent. When that happens, your debit card details get stored in a server that is not owned by the bank that issued the debit card in the first place.

So, what if a hacker manages to breach that server? He or she will have complete access to your debit card details. You have a fair idea of what will happen next. So, if a website is asking you to save your debit card details, you should try to steer clear of those websites.

Better to be safe than to be sorry once you lose your money. Such instances have happened in the past and such instances can happen again.

Retail outlets and small stores

There is an ever increasing trend of retail outlets and small stores accepting cards (debit cards or credit cards) for payments. For example, you can find this option in many medical shops. There is a risk factor here. The POS machines used in these outlets can literally have electronic system installed in them in such a way that can steal information of the debit card once it is swiped.

This is called debit card skimming. Incidences like these are on the rise and things become dicey when cards are swiped multiple times because payments keep failing. It is highly likely that the failed instances were actually the times when the card was skimmed for information.

This skimming takes place from the magnetic strip. This magnetic strip is where all the information is stored electronically and it is easy to steal information from magnetic strips found on cards. To counter this problem, RBI has come up with a mandate wherein magnetic strips will now be replaced with what is known as EMV Chip and a PIN.

This will make stealing information much more difficult compared to magnetic strips. These new cards will be introduced in India by end of December 2018. All banks operational in India will have to comply with this RBI mandate and banks that do not comply will be fined and punished by RBI.

So, if you are still using your debit card which has a magnetic strip, it is time that you get it replaced before you walk up to a small store or a retail outlet and swipe it to make payments for your purchases. It is better to be safe than to be sorry, right?


The bottom line is that, if you are not on your toes all the time with your money, you may find yourself duped at any moment. Elder people who are not very comfortable with debit cards most often become victims of such organized crimes.

Imagine what will happen if your debit card information is stolen and the money is used for any illegal purchases like drugs or firearms or anything like that! You will be totally screwed at least until the law enforcement finds the truth through proper investigation.

Thus, it is absolutely necessary that you keep your money safe and try to avoid these places while using or swiping your debit card. After all, losing your hard earned money and having your identity stolen will only push you into troubles that will wreak havoc on your personal and professional lives. If you really want to avoid that from happening, play safe!

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