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Indian economy has witnessed a tremendous shift towards the use of digital currency since demonetization and this has led to a steep increase in the usage of credit cards and debit at points of sale- both physical and electronic.

There are over 80 crore debit cards and 4.5 crore credit cards in circulation, the use of these plastic payment instruments has led to significant simplification while undertaking both low as well as high value transactions.

But there is a flip side to using such instruments- misuse and fraud!

Type of risks

Credit and debit cards face the risk of loss, theft, cloning, skimming, triangulation etc. Apart from loss or theft, where the physical card is no longer in your custody, other forms of fraud may lead to unauthorized transactions on your card while the same is very much under your watch.

You can protect yourself by following these simple and easy to follow instructions

  1. Store your cards in a separate case/ wallet

While it is tempting to store your cards in your primary wallet, it could be useful to store them separately in a different case/wallet so that you take them out only when you are performing any transactions. Also, in case you lose your primary wallet, your cards can continue to be safe if they are kept in a separate card case.

  1. Never write your card PIN behind the card

Some people have this habit of noting down their card PIN on the reverse side of card/ white strip. While it may seem like an efficient way of not forgetting your PIN, you are exposing yourself to the risk of misuse the moment your card is stolen or lost

  1. Do not handover your card to attendants at point of sale

You will likely face situations where someone may ask you for your card at the pretext of swiping the same at a card terminal lying away from your line of sight. This is strictly avoidable, and one must never allow the card to go out of sight.

  1. Keep a check on mobile alerts

All banks and card issuers send prompts by SMS / Email upon any usage. One should be vigilant in tracking such updates and report any unauthorized usage immediately.

  1. Do not store your cards across websites or mobile applications

Several websites and mobile applications will offer to store your card details for ‘future use’. While it does simplify your job of entering card details repeatedly, do remember that sharing your card details on untrustworthy platforms is a certain way of exposing yourself to risk.

  1. Do not share your card details with anyone

There have been several instances of fraud when people have inadvertently shared their card details with unauthorized parties like fake ‘bank officials’ who indulge in such practices by the use of tele-calling, SMS campaigns, fake rewards/hampers etc. One must be vigilant and never share card details with anyone.

  1. Set card limits and disable international use if not necessary

Now it is possible for you to set limits on your debit and credit cards thereby limiting the potential use per transaction. This is a great way of limiting your potential loss in the event of a fraud. Also, one can enable/disable use of card in international locations by altering the setting on mobile banking applications/ net banking. This will prevent any misuse in international locations

  1. Always shop from reputed merchants

One must always look for ‘Https’ while transacting on websites and performing financial transactions. This will ensure that your card data is protected and not being compromised.

  1. Use trusted Wi-fi networks

It may be tempting to use free wi-fi but do note that public internet connections may expose you to unlimited danger of hacking and theft of your personal data including card information. Therefore, it is advisable to always use mobile data unless one can be sure of safety of wi-fi network.

  1. Know your obligations and rights as a customer; opt for credit protection plans

As per RBI rules, you are protected against any fraudulent transactions performed on your debit or credit card if reported within 3 days of such transaction. However, there are some card protection plans also available which indemnify you even if you fail to report such fraud within the stipulated 3-day timeline.