Has this happened to you? You just spent the weekend at the mall, and now you get that dreaded call: There was yet another retail security breach and your credit card has been compromised. It’s an all-too-common problem these days, and it’s one we don’t need. Ever. We work hard for our money, and we deserve to enjoy every last dollar. Sadly, though, there are criminals out there who’ll work just as hard to steal it.

So how do we get around payment fraud—short of catching cyberthieves with our bare hands or snipping up our precious cards?

The first step is to get educated by learning to separate truth from fairytales. Because we want nothing more than to feel good about shopping ’til we drop while protecting our hard-earned cash.

To help you distinguish between payment card security facts and myths, we turn to Interac, who have created the most convenient (and secure) ways for Canadians to pay for just about everything. You’re likely using them already—besides just swiping your bank card regularly, you might also use Interac Flash, Interac E-Transfer, and Interac Online. But you probably 8 Myths About Payment Card Fraud We're Busting Nowdon’t know just how safe using these services are.

So don’t whip out any old card to pay for those new shoes—at least not before you read this post. You may be surprised at what you learn.


1. Using Interac Debit is riskier than paying with credit. 

FALSE. With measures like chip technology, which is now ubiquitous in Canada, criminals are committing payment card fraud in non-chip environments and in payments that don’t require the card, such as for Internet and over-the-phone purchases.

The Interac network is much less susceptible to fraud from retail payment card security breaches. Unlike credit cards, the number on the front of your debit card can’t be used as an account number; it is only an identifier. That means any data captured or stolen through skimming or a breach is entirely useless to a criminal because it can’t be used to conduct transactions, online or in person. You don’t have to worry. No personal financial information is ever shared or stored with retailers.

2. Using Interac Debit is safer than using Interac Flash. 

FALSE. While it seems risky to just flash your card rather than entering your PIN, Interac Flash actually has all the security features of Interac Debit, including chip technology and Interac zero liability, plus it has the added protection of small transaction limits. Listen up: Single transactions must be $100 or less and the total daily flash can’t exceed $200. If it does, the merchant will ask you to enter your PIN to complete the transaction. Smart, huh?

3. Interac e-Transfer is unsafe because money is being exchanged on the Internet. 

FALSE. When you send money using Interac e-Transfer, it never travels by email or text message. These messages serve to merely notify the recipient that money is coming, and to provide instructions on how to receive and deposit the funds. The two financial institutions involved transfer funds using established and secure banking procedures.

4. With Interac e-Transfer, it’s hard to protect yourself from scams. 

FALSE. While criminals are crafty, we know you’re savvy. They’ll use a number of methods to try to trick you into sending them money, including the use of online classified ads to anonymously and falsely advertise the sale of goods and services. Be smart. Like using cash or cheques, you should send an Interac e-Transfer ONLY to parties you know and trust. For most uses of the Interac e-Transfer service, such as sending money to family and friends, repaying IOUs, sending gifts and paying for services such as your dog walker, gardener or accountant, you know the recipient well so your cash is not at risk.

5. With the introduction of Interac Flash, debit card fraud is on the rise. 

FALSE. Interac debit card fraud losses resulting from skimming are at a record low—decreasing 45 per cent to $16.2 million in 2014 from a previous low of $29.5 million in 2013. More significantly, fraud exploitation within Canada accounted for only 20 per cent, or $3.2 million, of 2014 losses to financial institutions.

6. Criminals are going after debit cards now that PINs aren’t always required. 

FALSE. Think about it: Criminals are looking for large amounts of cash and easily sellable goods, not a few coffees. Interac Flash is about speed and convenience for small value purchases. But even so, it still offers reassuring security measures, such as protecting your funds from fraudulent use and the $100 limit, so you can feel confident in using your card.

7. Chip technology gives potential criminals more info about my card. 

FALSE. Chip technology makes it harder for criminals to steal from you. The encrypted data is much harder to access than that on a mag stripe. Plus, the Interac network protects consumers from skimming-related fraud through chip technology and comprehensive fraud prevention tactics. In Canada, all ABMs and Interac debit cards have been converted to chip technology, and by the end of 2015, all point-of-sale terminals will be converted as well, making skimming even harder for criminals.

8. Buying through Interac Online is dangerous. 

8 Myths About Payment Card Fraud We're Busting NowFALSE. Although Canadians are statistically more concerned about the fraud risks associated with online shopping than consumers from other countries, Interac Online uses unique, encrypted data which is refreshed and deleted each time you use your card. So you can breathe easy. The information can’t be duplicated or re-used. Since the transaction is completed through web banking, no personal information is ever shared with merchants.

For more awareness info on payment card security and how you can prevent fraud, click here.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Interac. Although we were compensated for sharing this information, all opinions are our own. 

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