Play your cards right this Christmas and keep them safe

December 11, 2018

Christmas is a busy time of year for our credit and debit cards! Between rushing around meeting friends and picking up last-minute stocking fillers, you’ll probably be using your cards a lot more over the next few weeks. Play your cards right this festive season and read our tips on using your cards safely.

Think before you tap

Contactless payments, which can be made up to €30, can be handy, but be careful about how you use them. Tapping for smaller amounts can be convenient, but could also mean paying less attention to how you use your card. If you’re in a bar or shop, always make sure you tap the card yourself, or get staff to show you the terminal as they tap your card so you can see the amount is correct. Always ask for a receipt for contactless payments.

What is card skimming?

Card skimmers are small devices used to steal credit or debit card information usually at ATMs. When a card is placed through the skimmer, it captures details from the card’s magnetic strip. Scammers use the stolen data to make purchases either online or with a counterfeit card. You may only notice your card has been skimmed when you see unusual charges in your account or money withdrawn, even though you had your card the whole time.

Reduce the risk

You can reduce the risk of your card being skimmed. If you’re at an ATM and notice something unusual about the cash machine, like signs of tampering, don’t enter your card or PIN. Report the machine to the bank immediately and contact the local Garda station. Never let your cards out of your sight and never give anyone your PIN number. You should also always cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
Use ATMs wisely.

When taking money out, stand close to the ATM or card terminal and always shield the keypad with your free hand and body, so no one can see you enter your PIN. Use ATMs that are well lit and in clear view. Be aware of anyone trying to distract you at the cash machine or standing very close behind you.

Don’t forget to take your card and money from the ATM when you’re leaving. This happens more often than you might think, especially if you’re rushing. Try not to take out large amounts of cash which could be easily stolen or lost when out shopping or socialising.

Keep an eye on your accounts

Our bank accounts see a lot more activity at Christmas, so make sure to keep an eye on them. While there’s no way to avoid problems completely, you can reduce any harm done by paying attention to transactions in your credit or debit account. Checking your online accounts often, especially when you’re using your card more frequently, will mean you’ll be able to spot unusual or unfamiliar transactions. Having your bank’s banking app on your phone is a handy way to do this. Contact your bank or card provider without delay if you notice anything unusual.

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