Is it Safe to Swipe Your Debit Card Anywhere?

It's important to be careful with your debit card so that scammers don’t have a chance to steal your information.

3 min read

Your debit card is a convenient way to access the funds in your checking account for purchases and withdrawals. But because of this access to your hard-earned money, it’s important to be careful with your debit card so that scammers don’t have a chance to steal your information.

Protecting your account is one of our top priorities at N26. We take security seriously, and want you to know how to safeguard the information on your debit card. Discover how scammers may try to access your account and learn the simple steps that you can take to keep your debit card more secure.

Is it safe to swipe my debit card?

Usually, but not always.That’s mainly because of debit card skimming, a type of theft where criminals attach a small electronic device to a legitimate card reader (like an ATM or gas pump) to “skim,” the information off your card’s magnetic strip.

Skimming devices can be placed on any type of card reader, and there may also be a hidden video camera nearby to record you as you enter your PIN. People who fall victim to debit card skimming don’t usually realize what happened until much later, because they thought they were just using a regular card reader.

What happens if my debit card is skimmed?

There are three major security risks associated with debit card skimming:

Risk #1: Misuse of personal information. Crooks can steal your identity and use your personal information for their own financial gain, like taking out a credit card in your name and charging thousands of dollars. They might also sell your information on the internet.

Risk #2: Unauthorized charges on your account. Criminals can utilize your debit card information to make purchases or cash withdrawals from your account. The unauthorized charges may be small (so you might not notice them) or large (to clean out your account).

Risk #3: Access to your transaction history. Thieves may be able to obtain your financial history and use it to scam and threaten you.

How do I avoid debit card skimming?

Keep your account safer by learning how to prevent debit card fraud:

  • Inspect every card reader before you begin. Is anything crooked, damaged, or loose? Does the keypad seem too thick? Is there someone lurking nearby, or is your gut telling you that something’s off? If that’s the case, find a new machine.

  • Pay special attention at ATMs that aren’t attached to a bank, gas stations, and self-checkout lines, which are all at higher risk for debit card skimming.

  • Always cover the keypad when you enter your PIN.

  • Check your account regularly for fraudulent transactions or anything that seems out of place.

  • Sign up for account alerts. With N26, you’ll receive a push notification instantly whenever a purchase or withdrawal has been made.

Be smart and stay safe with N26

Understanding the potential risks of swiping your debit card is a great way to keep your debit card information safe. And you can rest assured that your money is in good hands at N26. Enjoy innovative security benefits with your account, including:

  • Cards with EMV chips for encoded data protection

  • Secure login via fingerprint or face recognition

  • Phone pairing with only on device

  • Automatic alerts for all account activity

  • Discreet mode to blur sensitive information

  • Lock and unlock your card directly from your phone

N26 makes it easier to keep your debit card information safe and for you to stay on top of your finances. Do you have five minutes? That’s all it takes to open your account and experience secure mobile banking

The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

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