A credit card creates a debt that you have to repay, but it doesn’t pull money out of your checking account without your knowledge. Thieves spend the card issuer’s money instead of yours, and you can get everything cleared up while keeping your checking account untouched. In other words, credit cards add an extra layer of protection from thieves. What’s more, when your credit card is used fraudulently, your liability is limited to $50, while debit card fraud can cost a lot more (especially if you don’t report fraudulent activity quickly enough).
To reduce the likelihood of problems, follow some basic security rules.
Look for the lock: Make sure you’re shopping on a secure website, especially when it’s time to enter your card number. Look for the lock icon in your browser and pay attention to any security warnings that pop up.
Monitor your account: It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on your money, and it’s especially important if you’re sharing account information online. Check your accounts regularly (once per month is a bare minimum — more often is better). Set up alerts in your account so you know when money goes out.
Use secure connections: Mobile devices and free Wi-Fi make it easy to get things done. But you never know how secure a public hotspot is. If you’re going to access financial accounts or punch in card numbers, save those tasks for when you’re at home or work and you know your traffic is safe.