A Consumer Watch warning shoppers should consider before whipping out that debit card for Christmas shopping.
We might think it's smarter to use a card connected to our checking accounts over a high-interest credit card, but doing so may open up the opportunity for more trouble and expenses. That's because credit cards offer more protection if we have to make a return or if someone else gets a hold of them.
Friday night, we have a list of the worst places to use debit cards, according to the Better Business Bureau.
We like to avoid the lines and crowds by shopping online. So do hackers. The unsecured online networks increase the risk of identity theft.
Other debit card don'ts:
The top place the BBB says thieves often steal card numbers may surprise you: hotels.
"The minute you hand over your debit or credit card to the person at the desk at the hotel, you're putting your life in their hands," BBB President Bob Manista said. "I don't want to cast everybody, paint them with a big broad brush, but it seems like there's a trend for the theft of the card numbers at hotels."
Manista suggests we monitor our accounts for several months after a hotel stay to make sure there aren't any unknown charges.
If you're worried about the big bill and interest after the holidays, Manista says to set a budget.
"If you can stick to it, you're far better off most of the time using a credit card to make these purchases," Manista said. "The key is being responsible with your spending."