More than half of Americans keep their credit and debit cards stored in safe places to protect themselves from identity theft. In August 2023, key findings from a GOBankingRates poll surveying 1,141 Americans revealed 61% of Americans put their credit and debit cards, along with other sensitive documents, in secure places.
What kinds of places provide the most security to these cards? Here are the three safest places to store your credit and debit cards.
If you’re out in public, one safe options for protecting credit cards is keeping them in an RFID-blocking wallet.
Leslie Tayne, founder and managing director of Tayne Law Group, said the reason why you’ll need this specific wallet is because most credit and debit cards have RFID technology.
“A newer type of theft involves electronic card skimming to wirelessly steal credit card information,” Tayne said. “Thieves will bring a device called an RFID reader into a public place. When a credit card is nearby, it picks up the card’s information, and the thief can use it to make fraudulent purchases.”
There’s a material in RFID-blocking wallets that blocks the signals from reaching these RFID readers. This can help prevent this type of theft. However, Tayne warns the same type of protection isn’t available at physical card skimmers. If you use credit or debit cards when paying for gas or visiting an ATM, she recommends checking your card statements often.
Another safe place for credit and debit cards, especially the ones you don’t usually use, is at home.
Those who have frequent visitors in their homes are recommended by Tayne to keep these cards inside a locked cabinet for added peace of mind.
Those who would rather not carry physical cards may keep digitized versions of their credit and debit cards in a digital wallet.
How does a digital wallet work? James Anderson, managing director at Paze, said a process called tokenization secures digital wallets. Instead of sending a customer’s full 16-digit credit or debit card number, digital wallets send a token, or a one-time code made of random numbers, to payment processors. In the event the merchant or payment processor experiences a data breach, Anderson said any payments completed with tokenized digital wallets are more secure than non-tokenized card payments. This is because the customers’ card numbers were not used and cannot be accessed.
Where can you find a tokenized digital wallet? If you want to make payments online using a digital wallet, Anderson recommends looking into offerings available from your bank or credit union.
“Choose a wallet offered by an institution you already trust, an institution which will answer the phone if you call and one that wants to help you manage your whole financial life,” Anderson said.
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