Some customer’s of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) may receive new debit cards in the mail, as their personal information and account details may have been compromised. The bank is not releasing details as to how much data was compromised, but that the corporation has discovered irregular activities involving the debit cards issued by the bank. Despite no unauthorized activities being reported on debit cards in relation to this discover or potentially compromised data, the bank has canceled old cards and re-issued new debit cards to anyone they feel was affected.
California laws require that Bank of America contact customers regarding any data breach. “Through our fraud monitoring and based on information we receive from the card associations [such as Mastercard and Visa], we will notify a customer and block and reissue their card if we believe their card information has been compromised at a third-party location,” Bank of America’s Reiss said in an email.
Some financial experts advise consumers not to use debit cards, at all. They say debit cards do not fall under the same laws as credit cards with their $0 liability for unauthorized use, and in some cases, debit card users are faced with paying for unauthorized purchases made with their debit card. If you go for 60 days or more without noticing the fraudulent purchases, the law says you are liable for them and the bank is not required to reimburse you. Since the debit cards are tied to funds in a bank account, this means you can find yourself without any cash available.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a bank replenish the money stolen through fraud, it can take a month or more to get your money back. Using debit cards may be convenient, but it’s important to weigh the disadvantages before swiping the card every where you go. If you do need to use debit cards, you may want to take some time and compare different bank policies to find one that has strong protections in the event of fraud or identity theft associated with the debit card.