The holiday season is upon us… and you want to get your shopping done as fast as you can so you can enjoy some holiday cheer. Shopping online is a great way to get your shopping done quick, however, before making a payment be sure the site you are on offers secure online payments.
Online shopping has largely replaced traditional shopping making it easier and faster to complete transactions. However, with the convenience of online shopping comes the security risk from cybercriminals and you should take precautions by using only payment methods that are safe and secure.
In this article, we will look at the best ways to securely pay online so you don’t lose your money to fraudsters.
Secure Payment Method that You can Use for Online Shopping
1. Credit Cards
Credit cards have been around for a while. They are convenient and are widely accepted means of payment on online shopping channels. They are designed to be secure and they have a uniform method of being used to pay for various websites.
Your credit card liability is limited to $50 in case there is fraudulent use of your card according to the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). Your liability reduces to zero if you report that your card is stolen before being used for fraudulent activity.
You can make your online shopping more secure by having a dedicated credit card for online purchases or request for a virtual card to protect your real credit card. With this option, you can monitor the card for suspicious or unauthorized transactions.
When you use a credit card, the money is not charged directly to your bank account. The card issuer funds the purchase on your behalf depending on your credit and you pay back later.
2. Debit Cards
Debit cards are like credit cards; they differ in the way your transactions are funded and the level of security provided by the issuer.
Debit card transactions are funded directly from your bank account. With it, you don’t have to worry about paying more than what you can afford.
Debit cards also offer zero liability when reported lost or stolen before being used. However, it requires more prompt reporting to protect you from liability. Not reporting suspicious transactions within 60 days may make you liable for all charges. Your bank may have some variation of these policies, so you should enquire about it.
You also have the option of using a prepaid debit card. Here, funds are preloaded onto the card that you can use to make payment online. Unlike normal debit cards, the charges are not funded directly from your account, and you are limited to the funds loaded onto the prepaid card.
Debit card issuers have monitoring systems to detect suspicious activities on your card. There is also an option for two-factor authentication for online purchases using your phone or email.
3. Wire Transfers
Some online retailers support wire transfer. In this case, agreed funds are transferred to an account provided by the merchant. The transaction is completed by sending the details to the merchant for confirmation.
This method is secure as only you can initiate a transfer to an authorized account for online purchases.
4. Gift Cards
Gift cards exist in electronics or physical form. They are usually given as a sincere appreciation to customers or as part of marketing discounts. Gift cards aren’t connected to your bank or even your personal details. You won’t expose any sensitive information while using gift cards to pay for services and goods online.
Popular marketplace like Amazon and Walmart offer gift cards for various purchases.
5. Mobile Payment
How about paying with your phone?
Mobile payment methods serve as a digital wallet and let you pay securely for various items online. You only need to link your credit or debit card details to the mobile application on your phone once and you can shop with them continuously after that.
These payment methods include Apple Pay, Google pay, and Samsung pay. They are highly secure options for making online payments and they also protect your card data from third parties.
When on the check out page, you can select the mobile payment option available on your phone. You will need your phone passcode or biometrics ID to complete payment using this method.
6. Other Payment Services
There are other third party payment services such as PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, and Visa checkout for making secure payments online.
These payment methods have their unique security features in place to help make your payments safe when shopping online.
They generally have good privacy systems that prevent your personal financial data from getting to other people’s hands. They are safer than credit cards that you carry around in your wallet.
The most popular of these platforms is PayPal which we will explore below.
PayPal keeps payment details secret which minimize the risk of it falling into the wrongs. One of its most popular features is that it offers buyer protection in case of a fraud or non-delivery of goods. It is easy and secure to use and can be accessed via mobile app or browser.
To use PayPal, register an account and then link your debit or credit card to it
Merchants that accept PayPal have its logo on the order page and you just need to login into your account to approve a payment.
Extra Tip! Before you make a purchase online, look for the little lock sign at the top left corner of your browser. This lock sign is a symbol that represents a SSL encryption which means the website is secure. In addition to the lock, the beginning of the url with “http” should include an “S”, so the beginning of the url will look like this… “https://”
Every form of online payment has Its risks. When shopping online this holiday season it is essential that you focus on payment security even though it is easier to get carried away by shopping activities. By following the advice discussed above, you will be using the most secure payment system to protect yourself from fraud or theft.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally posted on December 17, 2020 – a slight edit has been made to keep this content up-to-date.