Want to order a new coat online or groceries for delivery but wish you didn't have to charge it to your credit card? Many people don't know that you can use your debit card online. Not only is it easy to use but it is also safe.
Here's what you need to know about paying with your bank account by using your debit card for online shopping
Wondering how to use your debit card online?
Using your debit card online is easy – if you have a Visa* debit card you can use it online at any online Canadian, American, or international merchants that accept Visa* Debit. All you have to do is choose Visa* at checkout and input your Visa* Debit card number, security code, and expiry date at the point of sale.
You can also use the Visa* Debit payment option to pay for things like recurring payments for streaming media or to download or pay for songs and apps. You can even use it to pay your taxes or phone bills online.
One thing you'll need to know before making big online purchases is if your debit card has a daily spending limit. These limits are set to protect you against fraud. However, you could modify these limits by contacting your bank and asking for them to be increased or decreased.
When you make purchases via your Visa debit card online, you won't get to choose which account the funds come out of like you might when making a purchase at a store or taking money out at an ABM. Instead, the money will automatically come out of the chequing account linked to your Visa debit card.
Tips to stay safe while using your debit card online
Like with any account access card, it's important to protect your debit card information while making purchases online. The first way you can do this is to make sure that you're purchasing from a reputable merchant. Are they a well-known store? If so, it's usually safe to make a purchase on their sites.
If they're less well-known or if you accessed their store via an online advertisement, you might want to research the site and company through an online search to make sure that they're legitimate and not scammers. If you're unsure of whether the company you're purchasing from is safe, see if you can buy the item on another site that you trust.
Next, you want to make sure that you don't save your debit card information with the retailer in question. While saving your card information will make checking out with that company faster in the future, it opens you up to the risk of a potential data breach. Even well-known companies have been the focus of hacking attempts that have accessed stored financial data. The best way to keep your debit card information secure online is not to save it on a merchant's servers.
Another way to stay safe is to make sure to check your savings account and chequing account statements frequently. That will allow you to spot any unexpected and unauthorized charges that are fraudulent. You can then contact your bank to report the fraud and get a new card.
Finally, another way to protect yourself when using your debit card online is to set a daily spending limit on your card. While this could interfere with your ability to make more substantial purchases online, it will mean that if scammers get access to your debit card information, they will be limited in how much they can defraud you.
Debit card protection
How can a Visa* debit card protect from fraud? Your debit card has a number of protections in order to keep your money safe. That includes a zero-liability fraud policy on Visa* debit cards that means that you're protected from fraud on any unauthorized purchases that are made online, internationally, by mail, or over the phone.
In the event that your card is used to make unauthorized purchases, you may not have to pay for it. If you notice that your card is being used for unauthorized transactions, it's important that you report this immediately. You'll then be issued a provisional card and a replacement will be sent to your billing address in a few business days.
Understand your card terms
While using your debit card online is a great way to buy things with cash rather than with credit and therefore to reduce the amount you might have to pay in interest, it's important to know your card and account terms. For example, make sure that you know how many monthly debit transactions you're allowed on your account without paying a fee so that you don't go over and get charged.
Read the terms of your account when it comes to things like online protection and fraud before you use your debit card online.
Prepaid debit card
Despite how safe it is to use your debit card online, some people are still wary of the potential for fraud. One great way to navigate these concerns is to get a prepaid debit card to use for online purchases.
With a prepaid Visa* debit card, you load a certain amount of money onto the card and spend it down. You can reload more money onto the card at any time, but the potential for fraud is limited to just the amount on the card – it's not linked to your other accounts.
While you're protected from fraud no matter which card you use, some people prefer to use a prepaid debit card online so that if their information gets stolen, they don't need to change their primary debit card number.
Paying with cash online is simple
There are a lot of reasons why it makes sense to pay with cash rather than with credit, including to avoid incurring credit card debt and interest charges. But most people don't do so when making online purchases because they don't know they can use a Visa* debit card to do so. Now that you do, the next time you're purchasing a book or ordering new shoes, give it a try!
* Visa* Int./Licensed User.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as financial, tax or investment advice or guarantees about the future, nor should it be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. Information contained in this article, including information relating to interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors are subject to change without notice and The Bank of Nova Scotia is not responsible to update this information. All third party sources are believed to be accurate and reliable as of the date of publication and The Bank of Nova Scotia does not guarantee its accuracy or reliability. Readers should consult their own professional advisor for specific financial, investment and/or tax advice tailored to their needs to ensure that individual circumstances are considered properly and action is taken based on the latest available information.