PULSE Kicks Off Awareness Month with ATM and Debit Card Safety Recommendations
June is ATM & Debit Card Safety Awareness Month; PULSE offers tips to help protect consumers
HOUSTON, TX – Jun 3, 2009 — To launch its annual ATM & Debit Card Safety Awareness Month, PULSE today released tips designed to help keep consumers safe and secure while using debit cards at ATMs and point-of-sale terminals. Debit continues to be a convenient and secure way to make purchases, and informed consumers can take an active role to minimize risks associated with these transactions.
"ATM withdrawals, cash back during point-of-sale transactions and PIN-based purchases are convenient ways to spend and access your money whenever you need it," said Steve Sievert, PULSE senior vice president. "However, any time you conduct a transaction, whether it's with a debit card or cash, it is always a good idea to take precautions to protect yourself."
When you are about to use your debit card, whether at a store, ATM or other location, here are some helpful safety reminders:
- Protect your PIN: ATM transactions and PIN debit purchases require the use of a personal identification number (PIN). Memorize your PIN; never write it on your card or store it with your card. Never let someone else enter your PIN for you. When entering your PIN, block the view of others by shielding the PIN pad.
- Survey your surroundings: Before making a withdrawal at an ATM, take a look at your surroundings. Watch for any sort of suspicious activity and, if anything appears to be out of the ordinary, or if the ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, leave the area and try another location.
- Keep an eye out for terminal tampering: If you suspect the ATM or POS terminal you are using has been altered, go to another terminal. Signs to watch for include unusual-looking card slots, plastic overlays on the PIN pad, or the appearance of damage.
- Report a lost or stolen card at once: If you misplace your card, leave it in a public place or your card is stolen, immediately call your financial institution to limit the chance that it will be used improperly. Quickly notifying your financial institution also will limit your potential liability for unauthorized transactions.
- Take someone with you: Whenever possible, it is a good idea to take another person with you when using an ATM or outdoor POS terminal, such as at a gas station. This is especially true when visiting an ATM at night, even if it is indoors.
- Never disclose information about your card in response to an unsolicited e-mail or request: E-mail is a common channel for fraudulent activity. Never provide your debit or credit card number, PIN or any other personal information to any entity in response to an unsolicited e-mail or telephone request. Your financial institution will never ask you to disclose your PIN.
- Have your card ready: Minimize your time at the ATM by having your debit card out and ready to use. Do not let a stranger assist you in making a transaction, even if you have trouble or your card gets stuck. Never count your money while at the ATM.
- Review your account statements for unauthorized transactions: One of the best ways to maintain account security is to check your account statements frequently. With online access, financial institutions are making it easier than ever to check your account daily. Report any errors, including unauthorized transactions, as soon as possible.
PULSE assists its financial institution participants in protecting debit cardholders by providing safety materials and statement inserts, and by sponsoring the debit awareness site, www.DebitFacts.org. For additional information on protecting your debit card and your financial information, visit www.pulsenetwork.com/safety. For further details about how you can maximize the value of your debit card, keep your finances safe and secure, and manage your money for every stage of life, visit www.DebitFacts.org or follow the site on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debitfacts.
PULSE is one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,500 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS). The network links cardholders with more than 289,000 ATMs, as well as POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. The company is also a valued resource for industry research related to electronic payments and is committed to providing its participants with education on evolving products, services and trends in the payments industry. For more information, visit www.pulsenetwork.com.