I have a PayPal account that is linked to my Mastercard debit card, which is linked to my bank account. I usually make online payments using PayPal instead of directly using the debit card. PayPal then charges the debit card after I spend money using the PayPal account. Flow of money: bank account → debit card → PayPal → merchant. I used PayPal because I believed that it is somehow safer than using the debit card directly. Is this true? Are online payments using PayPal safer than using a debit card?
Are online purchases using PayPal safer than using a debit card?
You already have your debit information saved within Paypal's systems.
Using that card directly at a merchant's site would mean that you would now have that debit information stored on Paypal and the merchant's site. A data breach on either site would now potentially compromise your debit information. Paypal, being a major financial institution, presumably has better safeguards against a data breach compared to many online merchants.
Generally, it is safer to pay using PayPal, as your card information is never transmitted to or stored by the merchant, thus lowering the attack surface for your debit information being compromised.