‘Tis the season to be jolly … and finish up your last-minute shopping just in time for the holidays!

Amidst all of the hustle and bustle that come with the holidays, it can be easy for us to become distracted; our minds are racing a mile a minute as we ensure that we’re making progress on all our checklists. For many of us, we’re spending any free time we have shopping for last-minute holiday gifts at retail stores, malls, and online marketplaces, which means we’re often whipping out our debit and credit cards for payment.

Sure, the holidays can be hectic and overwhelming, especially when it comes to shopping for holiday gifts, but all in all, it is truly the most wonderful and joyful time of year. And we want it to stay that way for you by reminding you to be mindful about protecting your debit and credit cards while holiday shopping, so that way your personal information won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Tips for Safe Shopping

Regardless of whether you prefer to shop in person or online, follow these best practices to ensure that you have a safe, stress-free, and enjoyable shopping experience:

Keep your account information, credit and debit card numbers, and PIN numbers private.

  • Make sure your cards are always kept in a safe and secure place and hidden from wandering eyes. Be mindful while shopping about where you leave your purse or bag if it contains your card and other personal belongings. For instance, never leave your bag unattended in your shopping cart, as it can quickly and easily be stolen.

  • Don’t share your PIN number with anyone, write it down on your card or on a piece of paper, or keep it saved in your phone, laptop, tablet, etc.

  • Keep cash and receipts secure after making payments or using an ATM.

Opt to use a credit card instead of a debit card.

  • Choose to shop with a credit card for all your purchases—they’re safer to use over cash and debit cards, make it easier to track your spending, and help you build credit.

  • Fraudulent charges on credit cards are still concerning, but they provide you with stronger protections and help you to limit the damage more compared to debit cards. If someone steals your physical card or the numbers, you’re able to flag and dispute charges without having to pay for them. Whereas, with debit cards, the money gets taken immediately from your checking account and can put all of your personal finances and bills at risk. And getting it back can be difficult, even with fraud protections in place.

Be smart with receipts and handle them with care.

  • Compare your receipts and billing statements to double check that everything matches and there are no additional or unfamiliar charges.

  • Shred your receipts when you no longer need them. GOLD hosts free shred events for Members during each calendar year and would be happy to help you safely discard your personal information.

Protect yourself while online shopping.

  • Shop at reputable retailers you know and trust. Do some research and make sure you can find a physical address, legitimate phone number and email address, and read reviews.

  • Make sure the retailer’s URL includes the “s” in “https:/,” as it stands for “secured.”

  • Ensure that there’s a padlock icon in the top left of the URL.

  • Shop from a secure device with a secure connection and avoid making purchases and entering personal and account information while using public Wi-Fi.

  • Never store your personal information or debit and credit card numbers on a retailer’s website.

Stay on track with online banking alerts

  • Monitor all of your accounts and transaction history to confirm there are no unauthorized/fraudulent purchases.

  • It can be easy to lose track of purchases you’ve made, so log into online and mobile banking frequently. You can even set up customizable alerts, like minimum balance and transaction alerts, so it takes the surprise out of your spending and gives you the control you need to stick to your budget.

Ensure your account information is up to date.

  • Have you moved recently? Don’t forget to make sure your financial institution is aware. You wouldn’t want your account statements or any other financial information to arrive at your old address to never make its way to you, or worse, end up in someone else’s hands.

  • It’s also a good idea to update your financial institution if/when you change your phone number or email address so they have the most current information on file should they need to reach you quickly.

Research before donating to charities.

  • The holidays bring out our giving and charitable spirit, so many of us donate money to different causes and organizations. While it’s very generous, it’s important to proceed with caution. Take your time and do your research before donating to charities. Fraudsters take your money by creating fake organizations that exist solely to steal your money, card numbers, and personal and bank account information.

Report Lost and Stolen Cards

  • If your card is lost or stolen or you suspect fraudulent activity, contact your financial institution or card issuer immediately so they can quickly get a new card out to you.

Get Your Shopping Done with GOLD

We’re here to help you shop with confidence. Remember to use your GOLD Credit Card to secure all the holiday items on your list. With our card, you won't have to worry about introductory fees, annual fees, or teaser rates, because we believe that our card should reflect the same qualities as the credit union itself: fairness, transparency, and stability. The GOLD Credit Card is also equipped with low, competitive variable rates and credit limits up to $50,000 that give you instant borrowing power.

Not very fond about putting your expenses on credit cards? That’s okay, too. Take your GOLD Debit Card shopping instead. Just remember to take extra precautions to keep it protected and secure. You can also take it a step further by running your debit transactions as credit. This helps you to better protect your PIN number and yourself against fraud. Plus, it's so much faster this way! Simply tap the green (or sometimes yellow) button and hit enter on the pin pad to run your purchases as credit.

Here’s to a happy and safe holiday season!

Susan Gorbos

Susan Gorbos

Susan is GOLD's eServices Assistant Manager. In her role, she is responsible for processing daily eServices functions, including card disputes, exception processing, member service, and Online Banking and Bill Pay troubleshooting. She is also involved departmental training and procedure creation and revision. Sue is proud to assist all Members, including fellow GOLD team members, with problem solving and issue resolution. She loves finding common ground with Members and strives to make their GOLD service experience meaningful and personal. She enjoys training new team members and finds great fulfillment when they achieve their training goals.

Up Next:

Last-Minute Gift Experiences

Financial Wellness - December 19, 2022

Last-Minute Gift Experiences

Sign up for updates!

Get news from GOLD Credit Union in your inbox.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: GOLD Credit Union, 4703 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown, PA, 18103, US, https://www.goldcu.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link, found at the bottom of every email.

You are now leaving GOLD Credit Union's website. This site is provided with the sole intent of providing helpful and convenient information for our members. We recommend that you consult the privacy disclosure on all websites before continuing. GOLD Credit Union is not responsible for any content on any other website, and does not represent either the third party or you, the member, if you enter into a transaction.

Continue        No, Go Back