The Safer Way To Use Your Debit Card

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If you’re someone who tries to save money whenever possible, you’ll find that increasingly it’s the way you pay sometimes that allows for the biggest relief to your wallet.

When it comes to payment methods, money expert Clark Howard is not a fan of using debit cards to make purchases.

Clark’s beef with debit cards has to do with the lack of consumer protections they offer compared to credit cards.

Here’s the Safer Way To Use Your Debit Card

Clark says that using a debit card with popular digital wallets like Apple Pay and G Pay (Google Pay) gives you a layer of consumer protection you wouldn’t have otherwise.

“Yes, there is added protection using Apple Pay or G Pay because they’re generating basically a randomized number every time you use them. That would be a safer platform for you to use a debit card than the normal way.”

If you’re unfamiliar with digital wallets, read how Clark’s switch to a digital wallet has helped him manage how he pays for things. If you’re interested in using Apple Pay and G Pay specifically, here are some steps to take as well as information on how secure each platform is.

How To Use Apple Pay

Screenshot via

Apple Pay works only with Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad — not Android devices. To set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, just follow these steps:

  • Open your Wallet app.
  • Tap on the plus icon in the top-right corner.
  • Scan your debit or credit card with your iPhone.
  • Agree to usage terms from your bank.

When I entered my debit card information from my credit union into Apple Pay, it gave me the option to set it as my default card in my Wallet, which I did. After that, I was ready to go.

How Secure Is Apple Pay?

The platform’s website says, “Apple Pay is designed with your security and privacy in mind, making it a simpler and more secure way to pay than using your physical credit, debit, and prepaid cards. Apple Pay uses security features built-in to the hardware and software of your device to help protect your transactions. In addition, to use Apple Pay, you must have a passcode set on your device and, optionally, Face ID or Touch ID.”

How To Use G Pay

G Pay app
Screenshot via G Pay app

G Pay’s setup instructions are similar, but there are some key differences. For instance, you have to have a Google account to use G Pay. The platform also comes with the ability to get cash back on qualifying actions when you opt-in to its rewards program.

  • Download the G Pay app (Android | iOS).
  • Add your phone number to create an account.
  • Tap on Add an account.
  • Enter your bank credentials.
  • Verify the code sent to your phone.
  • Choose the account you want to add and tap Done.

How Secure Is G Pay?

Google says that G Pay encrypts your payment information and stores it on secure servers.


The platform’s website says, “When you pay in stores, Google Pay doesn’t share your actual card number, so your information stays secure.”

Here’s more about G Pay security.

Final Thoughts

Clark has harsh words for a debit card, calling it “a piece-of-trash fake Visa and fake Mastercard, because you don’t have normal consumer protections.”

The exception, however, is if you’re using it in tandem with one of the popular digital wallets like Apple Pay, G Pay or Samsung Pay.

“Using Apple Pay with your debit card at McDonald’s is just fine to do, as it would be at any fast food restaurant. Yes, I did say that it was OK to use a debit card. And yes, I did hit my hit yesterday,” Clark says in jest.

But seriously, folks, Clark is all in on digital wallets because they generate a one-time code that hackers would not be able to crack if they compromised a store’s payment system.

“Apple Pay is awesome. G Pay is awesome. Samsung Pay is awesome, and they are very, very solidly secure platforms and vastly superior to tapping or inserting your debit card,” Clark says.

As a final tip to help safeguard your finances when using a debit card, consider lowering the daily withdrawal limit on your bank account. Doing this will ensure that if your card is compromised in some way, the crook won’t get access to everything in the account.

Many banks have daily purchase and withdrawal limits based on their policies as well as the amount of money available in your account.

To inquire about specifics, you should be able to log on to your online bank account, call the number on the back of your debit card or talk with a banker at your local branch.

Do you use Apple Pay or G Pay? If not, will you start using them to protect your wallet? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in our Community!


Want more tips? Read about Clark’s 7 Rules for Using Credit Cards.

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