Yes, your bank account may get cleaned out (or depleted up to the daily spending limit of your debit card), and outstanding checks may bounce, and you may have a freeze on your account until it gets resolved. However, this zero liability guarantee means any transactions found to be fraudulent will be reimbursed by your bank. The bank then goes after the merchant that processed the transaction to recoup their own losses. If you have a good bank, they'll also refund your overdraft fees.
Meaning no offense, but why in the hell would this make me want a debit card?
Maybe the bank would give me back my fees and losses, but I've still bounced checks with God-knows-who and caused them all manner of hassle and had them incur fees and lost trust with them. If my bank account gets cleaned out the day before my IRS check hits, do you seriously think they'll just chuckle and say "oopsie, well, we'll clear it again". No. I'm going to spend hours on the phone with everyone I sent a check or made an automated payment to, trying to dig my way out of the hole that used to be my bank account.
I've had an account cleanout happen (account was cleaned out by lawyers suing my parents, and I stupidly left my mother's name on my bank account). My mortgage and car payment checks were in the outgoing mail the same day I received the "summons to trustee" notice, and all my money was gone. It worked out, but I had to take two days off work (lost vacation time) to make all the necessary phone calls, and I still had a black mark on my credit rating for several years afterward, even though none of the bounced checks were determined to be my fault. I worked for a bank service company at the time, and they routinely pulled credit ratings (since I handled account details on a lot of people). I had to spend a couple of hours explaining the whole situation at work, and it's possible I could have lost my job over it. Fortunately I didn't. Net result was an absolute nightmare, and my bank was actually pretty nice and helpful about the whole thing.
I also had my credit card number compromised once (Hannaford breach, and my card was actually used overseas). Visa called me, said that the card had been suspended but that any automated payments I had set up would work for another week to give me time to transition to the new card number, went through the outstanding charges over the phone to verify that they were all valid, apologized for the inconvenience, and I never even saw any of the fraudulent charges at all. I spent 15 minutes on the phone with them, 10 minutes entering the new card on my automated payments, and another 5 minutes cutting up the old card when the new one came in. Impact to my credit rating: none.
"Yes, the debit card can be almost as secure as the credit card if you use it as a credit card, and if your bank is really nice the resulting damage to your account and credit rating can be built back to almost new after a lot of effort!"
Thanks, I'll use a credit card. If it gets used fraudulently, the onus is on the credit card company to help me out, because my money is not gone. A credit card does not have access to my checking account. That's a very important distinction to me.