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I have a debit card that I share with my spouse. I keep just a small amount in the account linked to it. She was overcharged accidentally, and I noticed a negative balance on the card. I intentionally don't have it linked to another account in case of overdraw.

I'm concerned that someone may steal the card and charge something, causing the balance to go negative for 'x' dollars, where 'x' may be many thousands. Would it be a good idea switch to a credit card with a low limit for the shared account?

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    If you're in the US you can opt out of overdraft protection completely. The bank will then simply decline any transactions that would require more than your current available balance to clear. You're asking two different questions in the title and the body, you may want to edit your question to make it clearer. – CactusCake Jul 3 '17 at 18:51
  • @CactusCake - I don't have overdraft protection. – horse hair Jul 3 '17 at 19:37
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    You don't have "money in a debit card"; the money is in a bank account and the debit card is just a convenient way to pay a merchant instead of writing a check on your bank account. It is also "cheaper" for the merchant to accept payment by debit card rather than by check because the hassles of taking the check(s) to the bank and depositing them is avoided, and there is also no risk of the check bouncing etc. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 3 '17 at 20:57
  • Credit cards provide greater fraud protection, as described in many other questions on this site. Is there a reason you're using a debit card? – BrenBarn Jul 4 '17 at 5:35
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I'm concerned that someone may steal the card and charge something, causing the balance to go negative for 'x' dollars, where 'x' may be many thousands.

Call your bank. I had a situation a number of years ago where someone deposited a fraudulent check in to my checking account then used a "dupe" of my debit card to run my account negative. It was a mess, but the bank made me whole. Your state/country may have laws related to your liability in these situations.

Would it be a good idea switch to a credit card with a low limit for the shared account?

Yes. I never, ever, ever, ever, use my debit card outside of the bank branch or bank owned ATMs. There is no point. With a credit card, if the card is stolen it's the issuing bank's money that's at risk, not my checking account.

Your issue isn't theft or fraud though. Your issue is you don't have a buffer for vendor errors. Credit cards give you a float period between when you pay a vendor and when you repay your bank. That float time is valuable because issues like the one you experienced can be flushed out and fixed before you experience any negative impact.

You may want to switch to two credit cards and pay them out of a common checking account. Switching from debit to credit won't change your fraud liability, really; because largely that's handled by the interchange network (Visa MasterCard whatever). But it would certainly give you the buffer to identify problems before your checking account is overdrawn.

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This depends of the law in your country of residence. For example, in the UK:

To some extent existing regulatory structures already exist. In the UK the NRA’s responsibilities for regulating the content of and charging for Premium Rate Services (PRS) cover mobile payment services that are charged to a telephone bill or pre-paid account, including some NFC wave and pay systems. However if payments are debited from an ‘e-wallet’ that is charged up through a debit card, responsibility for regulation falls to the financial services regulator.

This makes it confusing for consumers if things go wrong. This all presupposes that the transactions themselves are legitimate and that they are captured by national supervision, which may not be the case for international transactions. 1

In addition, your liability depends on the following:

  1. Whether or not the loss is reported before any fraudulent debit card charges2
  2. Whether or not loss is reported after the identification of the fraudulent debit card charges on your statement3
  3. Whether or not your PIN number was compromised4

References

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