Credit card safety

Learn how to stay safe when using credit cards. Click on each tip to learn more.


Use credit cards safely

Key Points

Report loss or theft!

Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately to the company that issued you the card. To help you respond quickly in case your cards or ID are lost or stolen, make a chart like this one. Be sure to store the list in a safe place. Never carry it with you. Print Chart

Sign your card

Sign your card on the signature panel as soon as you receive it.

Treat cards like cash

Protect your cards as if they were cash – never let them out of your possession or control. Don’t leave your credit cards in your car’s glove compartment. A high percentage of credit card thefts are from car glove compartments. Don’t lend your cards – credit, debit, or ATM – to anyone. You are responsible for their use. Don’t let your credit cards be used by others, even family and friends.

When shopping

When shopping, be sure that you get your card back after every purchase. Watch out for a crime called “skimming.” This is when a store clerk or waiter runs your card through a small hand-held device in order to steal your account information. Criminals can easily skim any card – ATM, debit, or credit. So the safest choice is to keep your cards in sight. Make sure that sales vouchers are for the correct purchase amount before you sign them. Always keep copies of your sales vouchers and credit card receipts. Don’t volunteer any personal information when you use your credit card, other than by displaying personal identification as requested by a merchant.

Monitor your accounts

To avoid fraud, monitor your accounts online – including when you’re away traveling. Some financial institutions offer tools and services to help you monitor and manage your accounts, such as email alerts, automatic payments, and online reports that track your spending into budget categories.

Avoid magnets

Keep your cards away from things with magnets, which can erase the information stored on the card.

Too much credit card debit? See the lesson Dealing With Debt.
The basics of credit cards Choosing the right card for you Responsible use of credit cards How to read your credit card statement Credit card safety