Debit or Credit: Which Card is Safer?

Greetings everyone…

WOW…Summer is here and it is HOT – HOT – HOT in Phoenix.  I can’t wait to get to Chicago in July for the ASI SHOW so I can soak up some of your beautiful Midwest weather.

Spring was busy for us.  Much busier than we anticipated and all of us at Qdigitizing would like to apologize that our normally excellent service suffered some significant setbacks from the start of April through the middle of May.  Late spring time is normally fairly slow for us so we urge staff to take vacations and personal time.  However this year we got slammed and we weren’t as prepared as we should have been.  We have taken several measures to prevent this from happening again so hopefully there will never be a repeat performance.   Special thanks to everyone who hung in there with us when it got a little rough for a few days.

I want to focus today on payment issues and make you all aware of something that might not fit the mold of conventional wisdom.  Many people think that Debit Cards are a superior form of payment  because exposure is limited only to funds currently available in an account.  While that is true consider the following when choosing what type of card to use when you make payment choices on line:


Debit or Credit: Which Card is Safer?

Even though they can look and act the same, debit and credit cards have different legal protections.

Government regulations and voluntary industry policies will protect you if a credit or debit card is used to make unauthorized purchases. But the protections for credit cards are much broader.

Credit cards. Under federal law, if someone steals your credit card you’re only responsible to pay the first $50 of unauthorized charges. And, says FTC lawyer Carol Reynolds, if you notify the issuer before the thief makes any charges, you may not be out anything. You’re also free from liability if unauthorized purchases occur when the card is not physically present, say in an Internet purchase, she says.

Zero-liability policies, like those offered by Visa and MasterCard, add a second layer of protection. Under these programs you won’t pay anything if someone fraudulently uses your credit card online or off.

  • Debit cards. The rules are similar for debit cards, but there are a few restrictions. For example, your liability under federal law is limited to $50, but only if you notify the issuer within two business days of discovering the card’s loss or theft. Your liability could jump to $500 if you put it off. And even this cap is lifted if you wait more than 60 calendar days from the time your bank statement is mailed.Federal protections are a bit more generous if a thief just steals your debit card number (and not the actual card), but you still have 60 days after receiving your bank statement to report any unauthorized transactions.

The Visa and MasterCard zero-liability policies also apply to debit cards, but only to non-PIN transactions. If a thief steals your card and your PIN, the federal rules are your only defense.

For additional protection check your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. Most cover up to $500 for losses from unauthorized card use. And no matter which card is stolen, always follow up with a certified letter to your issuer — return receipt requested.

Your best bet is to “limit your use of debit cards to cash-and-carry types of purchases,” says Susan Grant, vice president for public policy at the National Consumers League, such as for groceries, at the gas station or dry cleaners.

But for expensive or sight-unseen purchases (those made over the Internet or by phone), credit cards offer much more protection. For instance, you can contest a credit card charge for a product that arrives broken, or if the product you bought stops working after two weeks.


I hope you will find this article useful. I know I did and I think of it often when I am making on line purchases for myself and my family.

Many of you out there (like me) are small business owners and one of the most importnat things we can do is manage our credit responsibly.  At Qdigitzing we use military grade encryption to protect your payment information and we never (ever) share your information with anyone.  We do not store your payment infomration anywhere on our servers and we comply with all rules relating to credit card transactions as required by our financial institution.  If you ever have problems with a payment please do not hesitate to give us a call and we will do everything in our power to resolve any issues.  Your security is of extreme importance to us and we value your privacy as much as you do.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop me a line at

I hope to see some of you in Chicago at the ASI Show, Chicago.  JULY 16-19, McCormick Place Convention Center.

Thank you,

Steve Freeman
Managing Partner