Is It Safe To Use A Debit Card Online? Are You Vulnerable?

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: July 26, 2022

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As the prevalence of online shopping increases, many consumers wonder if it’s safe to use a debit card online.

It’s a fair question, because online scams are also on the rise.

This article will examine some of the benefits and risks of online debit card shopping, along with a few simple tips to help you protect your financial information.

Is It Safe To Use A Debit Card Online?

Yes, assuming you are buying from a reputable merchant over a secure connection (i.e. HTTPS), it is safe to use your debit card online. That said, for your own financial security, you should avoid making online purchases over public Wifi; and never share your debit card information through email.

Benefits of Using a Debit Card Online

There are quite a few benefits to using a debit card for online purchases. Here are a few reasons for you to choose debit over credit.

Avoiding Debt

When using a credit card, you are essentially taking out a high-interest loan every time you make a purchase. Those interest charges pile up if you don’t pay your balance in full each month.

With a debit card, on the other hand, you are spending your own money.

So, if you don’t have the money in your checking account, you won’t be able to make the purchase.

Easier Budgeting

Whenever you use a debit card, the money you spend comes directly out of you checking account.

This makes budgeting incredibly simple, as all of your transactions will immediately appear in one place. You won’t have to wait a few days for the transaction to show up, and you won’t have to log into multiple accounts to track your spending.

This simplifies the entire budgeting process.

The Disadvantages of Using a Debit Card Online

Using a debit card for online purchases is not all sunshine and rainbows.

Debit cards have disadvantages, and you should be aware of them before sitting down at your computer to make a purchase.

Difficult to Buy Expensive Items

Debit cards tend to have low daily spending limits. In many cases, you won’t be able to purchase anything over $1,000 without making prior arrangements with your bank.

This is good and bad all at the same time.

On one hand, this security measure will keep fraudsters from blowing through every dollar you have in a single day.

However, in the event that you want to make a big purchase, you’ll probably have to call your bank and let them know you are making a purchase bigger than your daily limit.

This might seem like an inconvenience at the time, but in the event that someone does get ahold of your debit card information, you’ll be glad to have a daily spending limit.

It’s Your Money

One of the biggest arguments against using a debit card is that the money you are spending comes from your own account.

Therefore, if someone does manage to use your debit card fraudulently, you may have to wait a few days after making a claim before your bank reimburses you.

Fortunately, if you manage your money wisely, check your bank account frequently, and build up an emergency fund, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Debit Card Security Features

Debit cards are great financial tools, but if your card falls into the hands of an unscrupulous person, it can be an instrument of great harm.

Fortunately, debit cards come with quite a few security features to keep fraudsters from doing too much, if any, damage to your financial situation.

A CVV Code

To make an online purchase, you must provide the card’s 3-digit Card Verification Value (CVV) number. The CVV provides an extra layer of security to thwart financial thieves.

A PIN (Personal Identification Number)

The first line of defense is your Personal Identification Number (PIN) needed to withdraw cash from an ATM. Never share your PIN, and make sure it’s unique to your card and not used for other accounts.

Card Blocking

Bungling the security PIN on your card or online account can trigger a card block that’ll require you to contact your bank to have it removed. And before they remove the block, you’ll have to prove your identity.

This is beneficial in case someone tries to use your card and guess your pin.

Text Alerts

Banks are getting better and better at spotting fraudulent activity.

Whether it’s someone using your debit card to make an online purchase that doesn’t align with your spending behavior, or someone trying to hack into your bank account, you can set up text alerts to let you know of any suspicious activity.

This is a really nice feature that can give you extra peace of mind when using your debit card online.


While not directly related to online purchasing, it’s still an important security feature.

Always sign your card because if you accidentally leave it next to your keyboard after making a purchase, anyone stealing it will have more difficulty using it in the real world.

Tips To Safely Use Your Debit Card for Online Purchases

These days, using your debit card online is pretty safe. However, you shouldn’t leave all of your online financial security up to retailers.

You can do a few things to protect your financial privacy and make online shopping a more secure, pleasant, and convenient experience.

NEVER Put Your Card Info In An Email

You never want to put your debit card number or PIN into an email.

Only scammers will ask you for your financial information this way.

Legitimate online merchants will always use a secure and encrypted server to take payment information. So, if you ever get an email requesting your card information, run away as fast as you can–and NEVER click any links associated with the request!

Avoid Public WiFi Networks

Free WiFi is being offered by merchants everywhere as an added convenience to their customers.

While this might be incredibly convenient, shopping on these public networks is dangerous, and you should wait until you’re safely home on your private network before inputting your sensitive financial information into a shopping cart.

Know Your Retailer

Make sure you’re buying from a reputable website before making an online purchase.

A quick search through some Google reviews is typically enough to help you uncover complaints that might make you think twice before giving them your card number.

Verify Website Security

Only shop on websites that are secure and encrypted.

Before using your debit card to make an online purchase, check the upper left corner of your browser window in the address bar and ensure that the website address begins with “https” and not just “http.”

In addition to the https, you should also see a locked padlock symbol.

The HTTPS designation (and associated padlock) signifies that the website uses a secure connection, and your information is protected.

Using Your Debit Card Online Safely

Shopping online with your debit card can be an easy, efficient, and convenient way of shipping goods and services directly to your home.

And as hassle-free online shopping overtakes the headache-prone physical brick-and-mortar shopping experience, you don’t want to be left behind.

But embracing new technology comes with the responsibility of ensuring that you’re using your debit card online safely and securely to avoid the many problems accompanying identity theft and financial fraud.

Is it safe to give my CVV number with my debit card number?

Yes, provided the retailer is using a secure and encrypted shopping cart, you should be safe to give your CVV number with your debit card number. In fact, most retailers will require you to provide your CVV in order to verify your card information and reduce the risk of fraudulent purchases.

Can someone use my debit card without the PIN?

Yes, whether in-store or online, someone can use your debit card without the PIN. In the case of an in-person transaction, they can opt to “Bypass PIN.” Meanwhile, for online transactions, they will need to provide the name, card number, CVV, and expiration date of your debit card in order to complete a purchase.

This is exactly why it’s so important to check your bank account consistently. By keeping a close eye on your checking account, you can spot and report any fraudulent activity quickly.

Is It Safe To Use A Debit Card On eBay?

Yes, it’s safe to use a debit card on eBay. Being one of the world’s largest marketplaces, eBay takes payment processing very seriously. They have implemented advanced and powerful security features to keep your payment information safe.

Is It Safe To Use A Debit Card On Amazon?

Yes, you can safely use a debit card on Amazon to make purchases. Amazon has incorporated many security measures to keep your information safe and secure during the checkout process. They use a secured and encrypted shopping cart and all of your financial data is carefully protected.

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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