«   |   »

10 Ways To Ensure Online Credit Card Security

Shopping has never been this convenient… with the Internet boom and just a few mouse clicks, you can preview all the information you need to decide whether you’re going to make a purchase.
Are you looking for the latest novel by your favorite author? Just log on to Amazon and order the book in just a couple of minutes. Do you want to check out the weather in a particular country for your trip this weekend? Look up the most recent weather forecasts made by a number of meteorological agencies. Are you tired of serving the same old pasta dish for Christmas? Check new and innovative recipes online, and while you’re at it, schedule your car’s next routine maintenance appointment…

The other side of the equation

Shopping online may be fun and fast, but it does have its downside as well. One very distinct disadvantage to placing orders with online stores is that you don’t get to physically inspect the product you’re buying. Unlike walking into a real store, you have to trust the seller’s word that what you paid for will be exactly what you will get once it is shipped.
Another pressing issue to making online purchases is the danger of credit card fraud and identity theft. Buying stuff online means going through a paperless transaction. All you have to do to pay for your purchase is to enter your personal information and credit card details. These are highly sensitive details that can be used improperly by those who know their way around the Internet better than most of us.
There is big money to be made from online shopping, especially those that are paid for through credit cards. In the UK alone, an estimated 6.4 billion British pounds have been spent for online credit card purchases in the past year. There are a variety of benefits built into credit cards these days like No Annual Fee Cards, Low Interest Cards, and cards with travel rewards to help you earn free plane tickets.
This certainly means that a lot of people are using their credit cards to pay for products and services online, but not all of them are aware of the intrinsic dangers that arise every time they enter their credit card information into a website.

Protect yourself

A worldwide marketplace that’s available 24/7 is a frequent shopper’s dream come true. However, like buying from a physical store, you have to take steps to ensure your privacy and protection against possible credit card fraud. Keep the following tips in mind every time you are asked to enter your credit card details online:

  1. Make online credit card purchases in private places only. As much as possible, use your own laptop or PC when making online purchases because the public PC you’re using could be installed with a keylogger software, allowing the system to automatically record your every keystroke. (including your Credit card number and PIN)
  2. Keep your computer protected against hackers and viruses. A poorly-secured system makes you more susceptible to prying eyes. Be sure to keep Anti-Virus software up to date.
  3. If you live in the US, check out the basic info on the store you’re buying from with the Better Business Bureau. A poor rating can mean that the site is not on the up-and-up.
  4. Ensure that the credit card page entry page is secure before you type anything. You should see the little padlock (location may vary depending on which browser you are using).
  5. Double-check payment and delivery options before finalizing the transaction. You may be paying for more than what you actually ordered.
  6. Print a copy of your item receipt or confirmation. Keep them until the next monthly billing statement so you can compare the prices.
  7. Buy only from trusted online sellers. Check online forums to see if the customer service and delivery dates are exactly as the site proclaims them to be.
  8. Make your store account passwords long and complicated. Don’t share them with anyone.
  9. Do not share personal details other than those that are necessary to complete your purchase. Why should the online store ask for the card number of your other credit cards or your annual income?
  10. Buy online only if you’re confident that the Internet connection you’re using is secure. An unsecure Internet connection may increase the risk of other people getting hold of your online activities and transactions. Wi-fi is convenient but is NOT secure and should not be used for sensitive transactions like purchases.

Making online purchases is extremely convenient and hassle-free but you do have to remember that the Internet is not a foolproof mechanism. Hackers and con artists can easily get through to your financial and personal information if they probe long enough and well enough. However, you can still thwart them by being a wise online shopper and ensuring that you share your personal details online to as few people as possible.

See Also: