I always use a credit card online - even for the smallest purchases. The reason? It's the bank's money, not mine. And if I used a debit card, it'd be my money at risk if the transaction or its allied data were to be compromised.
Why is it then, that a large number of travel Web sites (rail, plane etc) are surcharging, in some cases quite heavily, for the privilege of using a credit card?
In many cases, it seems to be little more than profiteering, with some sites - such as www.thetrainline.com - caning users for a 2.0 per cent
credit card handling fee.
Now I'm not stupid. The cost to the retailer of handling a debit over a credit card is very rarely this much.
On the other hand - the security safeguards in place on debit card transactions are a lot less than with a credit card.
Furthermore, punters are not usually protected under the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act with a debit card - even it is Visa Delta.
I could be cynical and accuse the industry of deliberately steering punters into the use of debit cards, knowing full well the punters ends up holding the baby if fraud is involved.
Oh yes, the banks say you're protected, but the time and effort required to unravel the transaction? You only have to look at the financial columns of the daily papers to understand what the protection level for using a debit card really is.
Happy shopping online...