When to use a credit card versus debit card

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Restaurants usually have you paying your server with a debit card. Experts say in this case, it’s better to pay with cash or a credit card.

When it comes to cash, though, Donna Shoaf is like most of us.

“I never carry cash, it’s usually my debit card,” Shoaf said.

At restaurants, servers have the ability to swipe your card through a skimmer and download your card and banking information.

A skimmer looks like an ordinary card reader, but it’s fake. After you swipe, the suspect comes, takes it down and gets information from everyone who used that skimmer.

“Some things to look for: If you go to the gas pump and the card reader seems a little loose or jiggles excessively, it may have been tampered with. In that case, you may be better off going inside to pay,” says Sgt. Joe Mahoney with the Mobile, Alabama County Sheriff’s Office.

Using a credit card at places like gas stations, restaurants, hotels and even online, is much safer than using a debit card. Credit cards tend to have more protection and you won’t be held accountable for purchases you didn’t make. Your debit card, however, is a direct link to your bank account and a thief can wipe out your entire account in seconds.

Click here for more on where not to use a debit card.

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