Ways to Keep Your Credit Card Protected While Shopping Online

Online shopping is increasingly popular, particularly during the holidays. Its convenience is unmatched with 24/7 access and the ability to research, review and compare before you click. Although generally safe, it’s good to do your part to ensure you don’t have your debit or credit card compromised or provide sensitive information to the wrong party.

Let’s take a look at how you can be more secure in your shopping.

Know the Merchant
This may seem obvious, but the first rule is to ensure you are familiar with merchant or have done your research if it is not a well-known company. One method cyber thieves use is to send an email to your inbox with a link that looks like a reputable company but takes you to a site that is fake (a tactic known as “phishing.”) Avoid clicking those links and instead, type in the URL (web address) or enter the name in your browser. Before you provide any payment card info, take a closer look at the web address to verify correct spelling and make sure there are no additional, incorrect, or missing letters.

Look for the Lock and the ‘S’
In addition to shopping only reputable companies, it’s also important to ensure their website offers security for online transactions. In your browser, you should see a little padlock on the left side of the website name. This indicates that this website has a secure digital certificate, meaning any information sent between you and the site is sent securely and cannot be read by someone else in transit. Also, if you closely examine the URL, it should have “https:” at the beginning of the web address as opposed to “http:”. This stands for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure’ and that “s” lets you know the site is encrypted and the information you are transferring is secure. One thing to be aware of, however, is that scammers can have encrypted sites too! So again, ensure you are familiar with the merchant, have researched it and not just clicked on an email link to go to the site.

Pay with a Third-Party Processor
Instead of providing your credit card or bank account info directly to an online merchant, you can choose to use a third-party processor as an extra layer of security. Popular third party processors include PayPal, Google Pay and Apple Pay. When customers use this payment method, the processor doesn’t send the actual credit card or bank account number but instead uses a virtual account number thereby keeping your sensitive information hidden. There is no need to setup and maintain multiple merchant accounts as you can use the processor for all your online transactions.

Secure Your Account Frequently
It is always a good idea to keep track of your accounts, particularly when there is increased use and activity. Simply login to your bank and/or credit card accounts to check balances, verify purchases and make sure there are no extra or incorrect charges. Passwords should also be changed regularly and be unique and complex to make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your accounts.

These simple tips can lower your risk and provide peace of mind when shopping online. To learn more about keeping your accounts secure, give us a call or stop by one of our branches. We’re always here to help.

NMLS #718145

published on 12/06/2021