Last week Michael’s Crafts had a widespread security breach involving debit cards, which were used for PIN-based transactions. You can read the full story courtesy of The Chicago Tribune here New Article). People that used their debit cards as a credit, a signature-based transaction, were not affected.
Why? These criminals were looking for cash and you can only get cash with a PIN. Using your debit card as a credit provides a more secure transaction and it benefits you in other ways.
With a rewards checking product you also get benefits by choosing Credit when using your debit card rather than choosing to enter your PIN. Thieves steal information from a PIN pad by placing an electronic “skimming” device or bug on the machine that captures or intercepts card information and PINs. If you made a PIN-based purchase at Michael’s there is a chance that your debit card number has been compromised.
For this reason, most banks have decided to ‘err on the side of caution’ and close and reissue these debit cards. Although this may seem as an inconvenience initially, it would be more difficult for customers to deal with unauthorized transactions that post to their accounts. You can avoid PIN pad tampering by always choosing Credit when using your debit card.