I have been astounded by the take-up by card holders and the push from the major banks in Australia, for customer to embrace the VISA Debit card instead of the traditional Credit Card.
This, although advantageous to the banks, provides a much higher risk to the card holder, especially if the card is used online or in a location where the card could be skimmed.
The problem and the advantage of the VISA Debit card is that it allows access to your savings account funds via a VISA transaction.
This sounds great in theory, as there is no need to transfer money from your savings account to periodically pay off the credit card.
The problem exists where the VISA debit card is skimmed or stolen and money is withdrawn from the card. These funds are taken directly from the card holder savings account and not credit, therefore this increases the risk to the card holder not being able to pay bills/mortgage/loans/etc.
In the traditional credit world, if the credit card was skimmed or stolen, the dept remains the responsibility and risk of the bank, until the fraudulent transaction is investigated.
With the VISA Debit Card this risk is placed upon the card holder, who is often convinced to get one of these cards through good television marketing, when opening a new account or establishing an off-set loan, with no idea of the associated risks.
I dont like the increased risks associated with these cards not being explained adequately to the card holders so the card holder can make an educated decision as to where he/she uses the card (internet, phone, periodic utility payments, ISP charges, etc.
This risk assumes that the card holder does not rely on credit only to live and does not have any savings to withdraw, but the banks may not give you a debit card anyway if this is the case.