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What You Should Know When Paying With Your Credit Card


As the world we live in continues to develop into a more technological advanced society, there are new risks to consider and be cautious of when it comes to shopping and using credit cards. Since we’ve turned our currency into plastic and digital numbers, it can sometimes be easier to be scammed or robbed—and it’s not just online shopping to be worrisome of. Fraud can occur at:

  • Restaurants
  • Shopping Malls
  • Cafés

Often times these scams are happening when credit card terminals (the machine you use to pay) have been tampered with. This process is known as “skimming”.

Thanks to Ingenico, a credit card terminal manufacturer, we now have some tips on how to identify a skimmer as compared to a standard terminal. We’ve also compiled a few other tips on how to avoid a scam. 

Skimming terminals are usually slightly larger than a regular one.

You can tell them apart by the amount of space your card has at the bottom. The standard space is about one inch, whereas the skimmer is about a centimeter.

This can be further tested by noting the width of the machine. A skimming device would have thicker rims.

Though it might not be the easiest to test this without a ruler, just comparing this image with the previous image can give you an idea of the differences in size.

When skimmers are inserted, they often block the highlighting mechanism on the terminal. If you notice that it’s dim, this could be as sign of a skimmer.

Most terminals have a function that lights up the buttons which is something you may not have noticed before.

 The same goes for the green light at the top of the device. If this light is not on, then it may be blocked by a skimmer.

Here is the placement and look of a functioning green LED light. This should turn on when the terminal scans a card.  

Frequent operation errors are another sign that a skimmer may be in use. Skimmers often affect the magnetic strip and can slow down the function of the terminal.

Is there a stylus attached? Terminals with skimmers don’t allow the stylus to be attached.

 Pay close attention to the terminal you are using as all regular terminals will have a stylus attached in order for a signature to be made.

Even with these tips, it can be difficult to decipher a real terminal from a skimmer. Another good tip is to keep a separate debit card on hand that only holds a certain amount of funds.

Set limits on your bank accounts so that it will automatically cut off and block usage after a certain amount has been used.

When paying for items in a store or a restaurant, never allow the employee to take your card from you. Always handle your own transactions.

 Always check your receipts carefully as they should always include an “amount paid” field. If this is empty, fraud might be involved.

You can look into card insurance policies with your bank. Sometimes there are programs to help protect clients from fraud and offer reimbursements.


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