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6 tips to help protect your debit and credit cards

13 August 2018

When was the last time you pulled out a wad of cash to pay for an expensive item? Despite what you see in the movies, hopefully your answer is ‘never’ as carrying massive amounts of cash is probably the least secure way to store your money.

As the western world moves into the digital age, we are increasingly becoming a cashless society where our reliance on little pieces of plastic with a magnetic strip and tiny computer chip is increasing.

Though these little cards are small, they hold a massive amount of importance in our lives, and must be protected as such.

As technology improves, the security of your credit and debit cards also improve, but scammers and thieves are also becoming more savvy. Here are some tips to protect your debit and credit cards.

Card security tips for everyday protection

1. Leave your cards at home

Suncorp customers are able to use their mobile devices to make in-store, online and on-the-go purchases, eliminating the need to carry multiple cards on your person.

Those with an Apple device (like an iPhone or Apple Watch) are able to add their debit card to their Wallet app which can Tap and Pay with any store that accepts Apple Pay.

Those with a Samsung or Android device can use Google Pay by downloading the app through the Google Play store.

When you use your phone to pay in stores, Google Pay doesn't send your actual card number with your payment. Instead, a virtual account number is used to represent your account information - so your card details stay safe.

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2. Get in a habit

If you don’t have a smartphone or would just prefer to use your physical card, make sure to never leave it behind. Try to form a mental and physical routine where you don’t have to think about putting your card back in your wallet.

If you’ve temporarily misplaced your debit card or credit card, consider putting a temporary lock on them, but if you feel it’s lost or stolen, cancel the card immediately. Suncorp customers will be provided with a new credit or debit card as soon as possible.

3. Shred your information

When you receive your debit or credit card in the mail, you may receive a letter with your card inside and another with your PIN code.

Make sure to shred the letter with your PIN code on it along with any other letters that you may have that contain personal information.

You can buy a shredder at many office supplies stores which are fairly inexpensive. If possible, buy one which also shreds plastic as this will come in handy if you ever need to dispose of your old cards.

4. Monitor your bank accounts

If a thief has obtained your card information, many scammers will not make a large purchase immediately. A common scam is where the thief will make multiple microtransactions to test whether your card is still active and whether you are the kind of person who would notice.

When the scammer feels they are ready, they may begin to make larger purchases until your limit is reached.

The best way to protect yourself against this is to monitor your account even if you haven’t used your card recently and make sure you can account for all the monies coming in and out of your account.

5. Don’t give out your information

There are many people out there who are willing to say whatever it takes to get your banking information from you illegally. Never give your card information to someone who asks for it over the phone or via email.

Many scammers will do what it takes to mimic a position of authority, so if you aren’t absolutely certain you are speaking to a banking professional, keep your information to yourself.

6. Protect your PIN codes

Most people don’t just lose their banking cards, they tend to lose their whole wallet altogether. If a thief has gotten a hold of your wallet, they may also need your PIN code to make transactions. Never write your PIN number on your card or keep the code in your wallet.

As the thief also has your driver’s license, don’t make the code something obvious, like your birthday or year of birth.

Always make your code as random as possible or a series of numbers that are important to you, but not obvious to anyone else.


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