Credit Cards Safer To Use During Holiday Shopping Season

Dec 22, 2015, 12:00 ET from AARP Illinois

CHICAGO, Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumers have been warned on ways to keep themselves and their personal items safe during holiday shopping, especially different tips and suggestions on what they should be using while spending money. While there are pros to using cash or a debit card to pay for purchases, AARP Fraud Watch Network has determined consumers should still pay with credit cards this holiday season because they provide the most protection.

"People tend to favor cash or debit cards because it helps people stay on track, budget wise," said AARP Illinois Communications Manager Gerardo Cardenas. "However, there is so much additional protection when using a credit card that it really is worth using over other payment methods."

Of the many reasons to use a credit card over other monetary options, AARP Fraud Watch Network has highlighted three main reasons to use plastic:

  1. Limited Losses: Under federal law, if a lost or stolen credit card is used fraudulently, you're only liable for $50 and many companies waive that fee. However, if a lost or stolen ATM or debit card is used fraudulently, the thief gets access to your bank account and you could be liable for a huge chunk of missing money. A number of debit card issuers have liability policies, but all credit card issuers abide by the $50 liability rule.
  2. Season's Thievings: Pickpockets target people year round, but they know the holiday shopping season is the best time to get the most wallets. Should yours go missing during a shopping trip or any or time, whatever cash was in it is gone forever. But a quick call to your providers and all of your credit card accounts are immediately frozen and replacements quickly issued so you can resume your holiday shopping.
  3. Purchase Perks: Credit card rewards such as travel miles or cash-back act as an incentive to use your card, but there are other rewards depending on your provider and type of credit card. Debit cards may offer some of these benefits, but you'll likely find multiple, and better, purchase protections with credit cards. Contact your provider for specifics, but extended return policies, price protection, damage and theft protection, extended warranties, and chargebacks are some of the protections.

In 2014, AARP launched the Fraud Watch Network to arm Americans with the tools and resources they need to spot and avoid scams and identity theft. But scammers are still out there, making every attempt possible to cheat consumers out of their hard-earned money. The public can sign up for free to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts and more at