These days more people are choosing to swipe a debit card with every transaction. But when it comes to fraud, the two kinds of cards aren't created equal.
"You're more protected if you sign for that transaction," Marley Prunty-Lara of Consumer Credit Counseling said.
You are not responsible for fraud on a debit card involving a signed transaction.
But liability for a Visa PIN transaction depends on how the card is processed. If it's processed by VISA, the cardholder isn't liable for the fraud. But if a third-party network processes the transaction, the cardholder could be responsible.
If you have a MasterCard Debit card and a PIN transaction is fraudulent, you could be liable for up to $50, as long as it is reported within two business days.
"It all comes down to when you report there has been fraudulent activity or you've lost your card," Prunty-Lara said.
Credit cards offer zero liability for unauthorized transactions. And you don't have to worry about your bank account being wiped out, even if it's only temporary.
"It can take a bank up to ten business days to investigate that fraud. In the meantime you're out the money. You're not going to be liable. You're going to get that money back. But at the same time during that ten day window your balance could be as little as zero," Prunty-Lara said.
That could lead to more troubles like over draft fees.
You can also get protection when using a credit card over a debit card for shopping. If you have a problem with a product you buy you have more rights as a consumer if you used a credit card to pay for it.