A stolen debit card number is worse than a stolen credit card number.
Four times this year somebody in my law firm has had their credit card number stolen. The problem is so bad, and so frequent, that we have a written procedure for what to do when it happens. Our credit card company tells us that the thieves are using software that generates credit card numbers, trying those numbers out with small charges to online vendors, and then going nuts with larger charges once a successful small charge is made. Keep in mind that they thieves do not have my name, billing address, expiration date, or credit card “security” code. They only have the number itself. Yet a shockingly large number of transactions are approved.
Each time our number is stolen, we get a call from the our credit card company’s fraud department, they send us a new card, and life goes on.
If this were to happen with our debit card, however, the consequences would be much more severe. My debit card does not have build-in fraud protection. If the number gets stolen, I am 100% liable for the fraudulent charges. So I said goodbye to my debit card and replaced it with a plain old ATM card. For me, the risk of getting the debit card number stolen outweighs the benefit of having the debit card in the first place.