The Best Banks That Protect Your Money from Hackers and Thieves

February 17, 2014 – 9:42 PM

After the massive security breaches at Target and Nieman Marcus recently, we could all stand to be more aware of the security features on our credit cards and debit cards and how banks protect our money. Some banks offer more security features than others. Let’s take a look.

First, let’s talk about what happens in the case your card is hit with a fraudulent charge (something that’s happened in the last five years to 42 percent of Americans, according to one survey). By law, everyone who uses credit cards and debit cards have some protections against fraudulent transactions. Though credit cards are generally safer than debit cards, MasterCard and Visa debit card holders are protected from fraud with a few exceptions.

Credit cards: You’re not responsible for any charges you didn’t make if a thief uses your card over the phone or online. If your card is used physically to make a purchase, however, legal website Nolo points out that you may be liable for up to $50 of the purchase (though most card issuers waive that $50 liability).

ATM and debit cards: According to the regulations, with these cards, your liability depends on how quick you are to report unauthorized charges. If you report the card lost or stolenbefore any use of the card, you’re not responsible for any charges. If you notify the bank about an unauthorized charge within two business days of receiving your statement, you’re only liable for up to $50. If you don’t notify the bank within those two days, though, you could lose up to $500— and if for some reason you don’t notify the bank within 60 days, you risk losing an unlimited amount of money.


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