It is becoming easier and easier to spend money as time goes on and technology advances with it. Not only do most people carry multiple credit cards, but now even our phones can pay for things. However, as convenient as this is, it also increases the risk of fraud as you never actually see the money leave your pocket. With these tips, you can make sure that you never lose a dime to a scammer while you’re out on your next shopping spree.
But before you let us talk you out of never wanting to use a bank card ever again, we will run you through the many advantages of using bank cards.
For starters, and this is probably the point and reason why most choose to pay for everything using card. No change! Everybody hates walking down the street jingling because our pockets are full to the brim of small coins. Not only that but you can’t exactly spend your change, because the people behind the counter look at you like your offending them in some way by offloading your change on them. So its just dead money.
Another big reason why card payments are massively on the up is because of how easy it is to keep your books in order. It is all available to us at the touch of a button on our phones now, how much we have left for the month, how much we have put away into our savings, everything. Whereas cash is hard to monitor and manage in that way, and we just end up spending it much quicker. That is (almost) a fact.
They can earn you money! Nobody is going to pay you any interest for keeping all of your money in a bundle of cash under your bed. But if you keep your money in a bank account, usually specialist saving accounts are better for this, you can earn a fair bit of money from the cash you weren’t even going to spend anyway. Not bad eh?
Reward schemes are also very good these days. Some banks offer you cash back if you spend your money in certain shops or if you spend a certain amount per month. Others offer you air miles and free flights, again, if your money is kept in an old keepsake wallet, your not flying anywhere for free any time soon.
A really sensible reason for using card transactions over cash is that you cannot lose money from your bank (well that is if you follow our advise below). Whereas it is very easy to drop a tenner on the floor and not realise.
You can also be short changed in a shop if your half asleep and not too alert. Whereas cash payments are all automated, so even if there is a discrepancy this can be sorted out.
Tipping becomes easier and less awkward. When you are paying for a meal with cash, it becomes a big deal of how much is the right amount to leave the waiting staff. Whereas on a card machine tipping is easier and less of a drama, just type in the amount you wish to leave.
Pure convenience is another big factor in why people are more inclined to pay using card nowadays. Contactless is probably the best thing to happen to us all since sliced bread. You are in and out of your local shops before cash payers even have their wallets out of their pockets.
I’ve even see people pay using their phones which blown my mind a bit. Personally I find that a bit excessive, use your card and tap the card reader. One pretentious individual even payed using his watch before me in the queue once, whatever floats your boat I suppose.
Right now on to the business. How to stay safe during this new period of technology in which paying with card is king.
1. Check how far your card goes in.
An easy way to avoid a scam is to watch out for machines that have been tampered with. Tampering with a machine is also known as ‘Skimming’.
Once you’ve finished your shopping and have inserted your card to pay, it should be left out by about an inch. If you notice it go in any further, then the machine may have been tampered with.
2. The size of the machine.
Skimming machines are usually slightly larger than normal ones, so try to remember the size of your usual machine when you are suspicious. It could save you a lot of money!
3. The brightness of the screen.
When a skimmer is in the machine, it can block the screen highlight mechanism making it darker. Make sure to check how bright the screen is, because if it’s dim, it may have been tampered with.
The same point can be applied to the brightness on the buttons that can light up. If they seem dim it could be suspicious.
4. The light on the machine.
If the machine has a light on the top which doesn’t seem to be working, it may have been blocked by the skimmer so take caution.
Here you can see what the light should look like when the card machine is in use. They are usually placed at the top and are well lit.
5. Missing stylus.
Terminals with Skimmers don’t allow a stylus to fit into the side. Make sure to notice this when you’re about to give your signature.
You’ll notice that all regular terminals have a stylus attached to allow you to sign on the machine with ease. If there isn’t a stylus, your alarm bells should be ringing.
6. Warning symbols and errors.
If you see a warning symbol appear or notice a problem with the machine, it could be a sign that it has been tampered with. Skimmers slow down the functions of the card machine and can affect the magnetic strip reader, causing faults.
7. Carry an extra card.
Even though you’ve read about all of the potential problems to spot with a card reader, sometimes it can still be hard to spot a scam. Always carry a spare debit card with a set limit in case of emergencies.
8. Keep your card.
When paying for a meal in a restaurant, make sure you never hand over your card to the employee as you don’t know what they could do with it. Always handle your own transactions.
9. Check receipts.
Always make sure to quickly read over your receipt after you’ve paid for something. You may notice a strange amount on there or even a blank space in the ‘amount paid’ field. This could indicate a fraudulent payment.
10. Set spending limits.
Setting spending limits with your bank can protect you if you are a victim of fraud as it limits the amount of money that they can take from you. This minimizes the potential money lost.
11. Insurance policies.
If you are a victim of a scam or fraud, you can speak to your bank about card insurance policies as they can offer a reimbursement with some fraud cases.
Hopefully, you find these tips useful and can avoid becoming a victim of terrible fraud by using a tampered card machine!
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