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Debit or ATM Card for Getting Cash?

Q. Which is a safer way to get cash, a debit or an ATM card?

A. If you don’t use your debit card, consider asking your bank to replace it with an ATM card, which can be used only for cash withdrawals and always requires your PIN code. Without the code, a crook can do little with a lost or stolen ATM card. But with your debit card, someone can make fraudulent charges, without knowing your PIN, by signing for purchases instead.

You may also be liable for overdraft penalties if a thief’s total purchases exceed your bank account balance. Finally, debit cards have weaker liability protection than credit cards.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.