Discover and PULSE Offer Secure Credit and Debit Card Spending Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

RIVERWOODS, IL and HOUSTON, TX – Dec 18, 2009 — In the final dash of the holiday shopping season, consumers should not overlook the need to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) and PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks, are urging consumers to take care when using credit and debit cards in order to guard their identities and finances while finishing up holiday shopping.

Holiday Shopping Reminders

  1. Stay Current With Your Account – An up-to-date credit report can help detect fraudulent activity. Monitoring your credit and debit statements and accounts can be useful in determining if any fraudulent activity has taken place.
  2. Protect Your PIN and CID Code – Changing your debit card PIN periodically makes it more difficult for a criminal to use your card. Plus, never give your PIN to anyone. Protect your CID code (the three-digit code on the back of your credit card) from prying eyes to stay as secure as possible.
  3. Immediately Report Missing Cards – Whether your credit or debit card is lost, misplaced or stolen, contact your financial institution immediately. The sooner you report the incident, the less risk you run of your card being used improperly.
  4. Track Your Spending – Check your balance online to ensure that all of the charges are accurate.

"Credit card fraud can affect anyone, at any time, but consumers are particularly vulnerable around the holidays," said Jack McCoy, vice president of corporate security for Discover Financial Services. "However, there are a number of tips that smart shoppers can adopt to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to scammers, hackers and credit card thieves."

"Debit cards are also susceptible to fraudulent activity," added Cindy Ballard, executive vice president of PULSE. "Between all of the holiday expenses like gifts, travel and entertainment, it can be difficult to keep track of accurate and potentially fraudulent expenses."

Both McCoy and Ballard agree about the importance of monitoring spending on a regular basis. Whether working from a small or large budget, consumers should keep track of their daily spending by monitoring checking accounts and account statements online. This will keep consumers up to date on credit limits and account balances and give them the opportunity to review accounts for fraudulent activity.

In terms of managing spending, consumers are encouraged to look around the house for gift cards that might have value. If necessary, combine two or three cards to purchase a gift without affecting other money set aside for gift giving. Plus, look for promotional codes and discounts that many retailers are offering around the holidays. These can provide great deals without breaking the budget.

Many e-retailers offer promotional codes that give discounts at checkout or free shipping. There are also ways to get extra cash while shopping online. Discover Cardmembers can earn Double Cashback Bonus through the end of the year on up to $1,000 in purchases when they use their card to buy gifts anywhere online., Discover's online shopping portal, offers cardmembers the ability to earn 5% to 20% Cashback Bonus at participating retailers when making purchases through the site.

These spending and security tips and tools will help keep consumers' finances safe and secure through the holiday season. For additional information about the difference between debit and credit cards, and debit card usage information, visit

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a leading credit card issuer and electronic payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers student and personal loans, as well as savings products such as certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Its payments businesses consist of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit


PULSE is one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks, currently serving more than 4,500 banks, credit unions and savings institutions across the country. PULSE is owned by Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS). The network links cardholders with more than 289,000 ATMs, as well as POS terminals at retail locations nationwide. The company is also a valued resource for industry research related to electronic payments and is committed to providing its participants with education on evolving products, services and trends in the payments industry. For more information, visit


Steve Sievert
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