Debit cards allow you to pay for things with cash – only you don't handle the cash. Instead, you pay for online purchases using your card and the money is automatically deducted from your balance or checking account. Most debit cards are issued through the Visa or MasterCard system, providing the convenience and some of the benefits of a credit card.
Most credit card companies offer prepaid debit cards that are re-loadable and can be used just like a debit card linked to a checking account, only it is limited to the available balance on the card. Reviewing how to make a payment through debit cards will help you make secure transactions.
Read More: How to Protect the Strip on a Credit Card
Paying Online With a Card
When paying for your online purchase, you will need to enter your method of payment. Select "debit/credit" or "credit" if your card is a Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card, American Express or other accepted card. Your payment is usually made following the same method used for credit cards.
You will be asked what type of card it is, such as Visa or MasterCard, as it will be processed through their networks like a credit card. Enter your card number and provide your expiration date. You will be asked for your security code, which is the three-digit code on the back of your card. Enter your name and address the same as it appears on your bank statement.
When making an online payment, it might be the first time you have been asked for the card security code. If you're using an American Express charge card, it uses a four-digit number that is found on the front above the last few digits of your card number.
Benefiting from Debit
When you use your debit card online to pay using a network such as Visa or MasterCard, you are protected by the benefits offered by the network. For example, both Visa and MasterCard offer zero liability protection, meaning that you won't have to pay for charges you didn't authorize.
Most debit cards also offer fraud monitoring so suspicious activity will be flagged, and your card may be frozen until you can be contacted. Check with your bank about other benefits that are specific to your card.
Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
Take security precautions to protect yourself from online fraud when using your debit card. Save your receipts or keep records of any online purchases you make and compare them with your bank statement regularly. If you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, notify your bank immediately.
The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to act fast, as doing so will limit your personal liability. If you report fraud within two days of noticing it, the maximum you can be liable for is $50. Do not give your payment information to a store that only looks legitimate – when it doubt, consider purchasing from another retail site.
Paying Recurring Bills
Most major companies allow you to set up for your monthly bills to be paid with your debit card automatically. To set up this service, you typically log into your customer account and look for an autopay option that will ask for your debit card information. Users must agree with the terms and conditions to authorize the payment. Most companies allow you to choose the date you want to pay, or you can choose to pay on the due date.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.