After a lot of time and energy, your research has paid off and you have found the item that you want to purchase. You even found it at a great price! But before you complete your online shopping, are you sure that your credit card information is safe?
Despite the popularity of online shopping, it isn’t always secure. Even shopping in person at the big stores isn’t always safe as some major retailers have experienced data breaches. Truly, the only way to keep yourself safe is to pay cash but you don’t have that option when paying online.
Identifying Safe Vendors
A nice looking website can be deceiving. It’s very easy to look legitimate by setting up a pretty website. But, if a vendor is interested in keeping your information safe, there are some signs to look for. We will look at the top five ways you can identify a safe vendor below:
- Uses a secure website. If the beginning of the URL starts with “https” then you know that the vendor is using a secure website to keep your information safe.
- Site seals can help ease your mind. Many trusted sites will have seals from places such as the Better Business Bureau or the “Norton Secured” badge to show that they are trustworthy.
- Good reviews. If the vendor’s reputation is a good one, customers will likely rave about it. Customers will tell everyone about their bad experiences. Check the reviews of the vendor before making your online shopping purchase.
- Uses safety certifications. Research the standards that the vendor has put into place to manage your sensitive information. Some vendors outsource this to other vendors who are safety experts. For example, some vendors use Cleverbridge or complies with payment card industry data security standard (PCI DSS).
- Has a website that does not prompt a warning from your malware or phishing filter. Utilizing these filters and only shopping with vendors who do not trigger any warnings from your software.
Utilize a Secure Payment Method
PayPal, a U.S.-based company, provides international payment services. Many consumers trust them because of their longevity. They have utilized a tokenization process which replaces sensitive data with a non-sensitive replacement or “token.” They work with consumers and provide easy chargebacks in the case of fraud and their dispute process is simple.
Credit cards are another strong option. Because most people already have credit cards, they won’t have to set up any new accounts like you would with PayPal. Credit cards work with consumers to easily handle fraudulent charges and they may also offer shopping rewards. Unfortunately, credit cards offer no tokenization process. It is also not an easy or fun process to replace a stolen/compromised card.
Debit cards do not charge interest and remove money directly from your bank account. Think of these as a plastic replacement to cash. It is easier to your payments on a debit card and using a prepaid card will limit the damage done if the account is compromised. Sadly, however, if your card is stolen it is much harder to get your money back so it is even more important to use a reputable online merchant with this payment method.