MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know you’re looking for the easiest and smartest ways to shop as we get closer to Christmas. This week we are getting to the bottom of some of your holiday shopping questions.

For Tuesday, we decided to take a look at that card you’re swiping with many of your purchases. Is it better to press “debit” or “credit”?

As it turns out, swiping credit will protect you more than the debit option. The threat comes from thieves who can get your account information after you type in your PIN.

You have greater protection under federal law when you use a credit card, especially if it gets stolen. Your maximum liability is $50 on a credit card, but for a debit card you could have unlimited losses. Once your money is gone, it’s gone.

It’s also safer  to make a debit card purchase using the “credit” option if the card has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it. That’s because the credit card company’s zero-liability protection policy applies to this transaction.

Also, using a credit card can be even more useful for online purchases because if account info is stolen and not the physical card, you have no liability under federal law.

WCCO asked a New York-based credit card analyst from Bankrate.com about this and she says the best policy for holiday shopping and beyond is to leave the debit card at home.

“I don’t carry debit cards at all rather credit issuer deals with losses and not me,” Janna Herron said.

So what if you don’t want to use a credit card? Herron recommends withdrawing cash from the ATM before you head out to shop. That will also ensure you don’t spend more than your budget.


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