Keeping Your Credit & Debit Cards Safe At Christmas

Keeping Your Credit & Debit Cards Safe At Christmas


When Retail Ireland published its “Christmas Retail Monitor 2017” earlier this month, they predicted that Irish households will on average, spend €2,654 in shops this December, roughly €870 more than any other month this year. Christmas is already a hectic time of year and with all of this additional spending it can be difficult to keep a close eye on your banking transactions, but this is in fact the time of year when you should be most vigilant. Below we outline some risks that you should be aware of:


Card Skimming:

Card Skimming occurs where a device is used to intercept and capture the details stored in the magnetic strip of your credit or debit card. This can happen for example if a skimming device has been fitted to the point of card entry on an ATM machine. The stolen information can then be used for fraudulently withdrawing money from your account or for making purchases. Amounts stolen via skimming are often small amounts which you may not even notice when checking your bank statement.


A few simple checks before using an ATM can reduce your risk of falling victim to skimming:

  • Always check an ATM machine for any unusual objects/fittings, any signs of tampering, or even cameras, particularly around the card entry point and the keypad. If anything seems out of place, don’t use the machine, and contact the relevant Credit Union or bank immediately.
  • Always ensure that you use your free hand to conceal your pin when entering it.
  • Always try to use ATM machines which are located in well lit, busy areas and in clear view of the passing public.
  • Try not to withdraw large amounts of cash. Apart from the inherent security benefits of carrying little cash, making payments by card and indeed getting cash-back from retailers are generally much cheaper in terms of bank fees than withdrawing cash from an ATM.

    Contactless Payments:

    Contactless card payments are incredibly handy for making payments to retailers. With a current limit of €30 on such payments in Ireland it can be easy however to make contactless payments without paying close enough attention. When making contactless payments you should be mindful of the following tips:

  • Always check the amount being charged on the payment terminal before producing your card.
  • Never give your card to a cashier/waiter etc. for them to tap your card where you cannot see the amount being charged.
  • Always ask for a receipt. This will allow you to verify the amount that was charged.

    Monitoring Your Account Transactions:

    Regular monitoring of your account transactions is of course an important thing to do, however particularly at times of more frequent spending, such as at Christmas. Check for any unusual payments and contact your Credit Union or bank if you are unsure of any transactions or if you feel that your card details may have been stolen.


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