Whether you use your credit card to shop online or access money at the ATM with your debit card, it’s important to keep safety in mind. One way to do that is by regularly checking your account online – and by keeping that account protected.
Importance of Online Accounts for Credit and Debit Cards
If you use a credit or debit card, you likely receive a statement each month showing your spending and any amount owed. Credit card statements are typically provided three weeks before the statement closing date.
It’s a good idea to check your account more frequently, though, especially if you’ve been using the cards more often or have been traveling. This can help you spot any unauthorized charges quickly and report them.
Your credit card company or bank may also send you notifications about your card, disclosure updates and more. Having an online account allows you to access this information and do things like make a payment, request a new card and see spending history.
If you’re accessing financial information online, you’ll need a strong, secure password. Follow these tips to keep your account safe.
Credit and Debit Card Password Safety Tips
- Make your password longer than 6 characters. The longer the password, the more difficult it will be to crack.
- Use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use an easy-to-identify pattern (like “qwerty” or “12345”). Try choosing a favorite phrase or song, and use the first letters of those words to create your password.
- Don’t use children’s names or common words. It’s possible for someone to look up basic information about you to guess personal information that could be your password. And hackers have tools to automatically try common words in the dictionary. So don’t use an option like “password” (one of the most commonly-breached passwords) or something similar.
- Use separate passwords for each account. If hackers gain access to one password that you use for multiple sites, they’ll be able to access all of them.
- Find a method to securely store and manage your passwords. Whether that’s writing them down on paper (only use this one at home) or using an online password manager, make it simple for yourself to remember your passwords without compromising your security.
Related: Your guide to online banking >>
More Credit and Debit Card Safety Features
Most cards come with built-in features that can help keep your money safe.
One option is locking or freezing your card. This prevents any new purchases and is useful if you think someone else may have accessed your information, or if you’ve temporarily lost your card. Locking a card can usually be done through your online account or app.
Another feature that nearly all cards include these days is enhanced security chips. When used at a chip-enabled card reader, the chip keeps your information encrypted so others can’t access it. It’s easy to see if your card includes a chip; it’s typically located on the front of the card and looks like a small metallic square.
More Financial Safety Tips
See more tips for keeping your financial information secure, whether it’s avoiding scams or keeping yourself safe while traveling.