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Stricter Liability Laws

Credit cards are subject to strict liability laws that limit a consumer's cost for credit card fraud to $50. Even better, almost all credit cards now come with zero liability policies, meaning you generally don't have to pay a cent for any unauthorized charges. Of course, restrictions apply, but most consumer feedback regarding this benefit has been quite positive.

With debit card fraud, your liability is $50 if you notify the bank within two days. After two days, your liability increases to $500 for purchases and charges you didn't make—and up to your entire account balance after 60 days.

Although many banks have implemented voluntary plans that limit debit card liability to $50, there's no federal requirement. And although Visa and MasterCard do extend limited zero liability protection to debit cards branded with a Visa or MasterCard logo, there are restrictions.

Even if you're fortunate enough to recover all your money and get all the associated fees reversed, once your checking account is exposed to fraudsters, you might face identity theft issues. Many fraud victims spend countless hours straightening it all out. And, as the wise old saying goes, time is money!

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