Is it Bad to Use a Debit Card Online?

Quick Answer: Today’s banking organizations and retailers take steps to ensure account safety online. However, it’s up to you to take precautions when providing personal information digitally.

If you are a frequent shopper at online stores such as Amazon, then you know how to use debit cards or credit cards to make purchases digitally. When you use a debit card, the bank account tied to your card is the funding source for your transactions.  You can set up a direct deposit for your paycheck or other income to your bank account to replenish it automatically.

Using a Debit Card for Online Shopping

Using a debit card to make a purchase online requires a different process than a retail location.  This is due, in large part, to internet safety. According to a 2019 American Express Digital Payments survey, 27% of online sales are fraudulent transactions. This is why merchants have more safeguards in place for online shopping transactions.

Because of the way online purchases are processed by a merchant’s bank, the bank takes additional steps to ensure the security of the transaction. For this reason, it takes more time to transfer the funds from your account to the merchant’s account. You may see a transaction as “pending” in your account until the process is complete. During this period, funds that are “pending” are unavailable for you to use. The amount of time that a transaction takes to complete will vary, but generally it shouldn’t be more than a few days.


Want to learn more about what you do with a debit card? Our “What is a debit card used for?” blog post will fill you in on the details.


Online merchants often require that you provide additional details during the checkout process as a fraud prevention measure. This may include entering the security code printed on the back of your debit card and verifying that the billing address matches the address that your bank has on file.

What Protection Do I Have When Using a Debit Card Online?

There are laws that provide some fraud protection when using your debit card. Notifying the bank as soon as you notice a charge you don’t recognize is essential in these cases.  VISA and Mastercard also have programs that may protect you from certain fraudulent transactions.

If you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, report it to your bank or card issuer as early as possible. Visit the Federal Trade Commission website to learn about your repayment liability for unauthorized charges on your debit card.

It’s important to remember that while in some cases you are not liable for unauthorized charges, it can take time before that money is back in your account.

Using a Debit Card Safely Online

The online retail space has come a long way in providing safety measures to prevent fraud. You shouldn’t fear using your debit card online. Just be sure to follow these safety guidelines when using your debit card online, below:

  • Do not use public Wi-Fi. Only use secure connections when accessing personal accounts or typing in your card number.
  • Keep track of your account. Check your account information often. Many accounts offer you the opportunity to set up alerts anytime your card is used for purchases. These alerts are sent via text or email.
  • Check for signs that a website is secure. The web address of a secure website will begin with “https://” which indicates that the site is encrypted and that the information that you send or get through the site is private. The website’s domain name or URL should also have a padlock icon with the words “Secure” or “Verified” which means they work with a security partner. Avoid websites that show a red triangle icon with an exclamation point, as this suggests that a website is not secure or is dangerous.

The Flare Account®1 offers Anytime AlertsTM2 in the form of text alerts to help you track your account activity. This can be helpful for staying aware of suspicious transactions. Apply today  or visit the Flare Account website to learn more!

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1. IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR OPENING A NEW DEPOSIT ACCOUNT: To help the federal government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, the USA PATRIOT Act requires us to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an Account. WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: When you open an Account, we will ask for your name, street address, date of birth, and government ID number. We may also ask to see a copy of your driver’s license or other documents at any time. All Accounts are opened subject to our ability to verify your identity by requiring acceptable types of identification. We may validate the information you provide to us to ensure we have a reasonable belief of your identity. If we are not able to verify your identity to our satisfaction, we will not open your Account or we may close the Account if it was previously funded. Your Account is subject to fraud prevention restrictions at any time, with or without notice.


2. No charge for this service, but your wireless carrier may charge for messages or data.


The ACE Flare™ Account is established by MetaBank®, National Association, Member FDIC. Netspend is a service provider to MetaBank, N.A. Certain products and services may be licensed under U.S. Patent Nos. 6,000,608 and 6,189,787.


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Copyright © 2021 Populus Financial Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Flare Account® is a demand deposit account established by Pathward, National Association, Member FDIC, and the Flare Account Debit Card is issued by Pathward, N.A., pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Netspend is a service provider to Pathward, N.A. Certain products and services may be licensed under U.S. Patent Nos. 6,000,608 and 6,189,787.