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Security breach has shoppers thinking twice about using credit - KOAM TV 7

Security breach has shoppers thinking twice about using credit

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News of the security breach at Target stores has many Four State shoppers thinking twice before using their credit and debit cards.  But bankers say there are risks with any form of payment.

Paper of plastic?

"Usually, I carry my card, because I don't like carrying a lot of cash on me," says shopper Scott Ryan.

Which type of plastic?

"Debit card," says shopper Chelsey White.

Credit card," says Ryan.

Bankers say in a world with hackers turning science fiction into reality by finding new ways of getting personal information, paying by cash is the most anonymous way.

"There's no way to track that, as far as where that purchase is made," says Rebecca Dunham, Sales Manager with Arvest Bank in Joplin.

But wallets gets stolen, and cash gets lost.  Besides, all the dough can get rather bulky in the purse or pocket.  

A debit card is thin, but still loaded with usable money, and only useable money for that time.

"It's a very easy way to manage your cash flow," says Dunham.

"I just do direct deposit," says White.

The downside of debit is there can be an easy Houdini act in your budget.

"We always recommend to our customers that you not use a debit card if you're shopping online because if your debit card is compromised and it's through an online retailer, then there's the potential that funds could be removed from your account before you know its happened," says Dunham.

Credit cards.

"You're billed at the end of your billing cycle," says Dunham.

That means you don't have to pay right away.  People have 60 days, from the date of a fraudulent charge, to dispute that charge with a financial institution.  This goes for credit or debit.

But since money is instantly withdrawn with a debit card, it can be more time consuming to settle disputes in a checking account.

Bottom line, it comes down to being regularly proactive.  Credit or debit.

"Routinely monitor the account activity on your account," says Dunham.

No matter what advice about ensuring safe electronic payments, many shoppers, after hearing the recent news of Target, are going the most anonymous way.

"I'd be more likely to use cash now," says Ryan.

That's for the time being, anyway.

Bankers say most electronic security breaches involve credit and debit card numbers, not other personal information like social security numbers.

Target has set up a phone number for customers who think they may be victims of the breach.  You can call 1-866-852-8680.

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