How to Safely Use Your Credit Card Online

Protecting your credit card information when you're shopping online is key to avoiding credit card fraud. Following some important guidelines each time you use your card online will help protect your credit card information.

Only Use Your Credit Card on Websites You Trust

Online shopping

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When you shop with your credit card online, it's important that you only go to websites you trust. Avoid clicking on email links, particularly in unsolicited emails, because these links could take you to a phony website created for the sole purpose of stealing consumer's credit card information. You can be sure you're at the correct website by typing the URL in your internet browser.

Don't Make Online Credit Card Purchases From Public Places

Public computers and networks are less secure than your personal compute rand home wifi. There's a greater chance that your credit card information can be stolen when you enter your payment details on a public computer. These computers could have spyware software installed to capture all your keystrokes, including your login information and credit card number.

You're not safe just because you're using your own computer on a public wifi. Hackers have access to the same wifi signal and can intercept information while it's being transmitted. That means no online ordering while you're using the wifi at your local coffee shop.

Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Hackers

Make sure your computer is protected from hackers that could send your internet browser to a fake website by loading the most recent anti-virus and anti-spyware software onto your computer.

Use only reputable anti-virus software, not anything you see in a pop-up advertisement or get as a link in an email.

Check With the Better Business Bureau

If you're using your credit card online at a store you're not familiar with, check the Better Business Bureau or other consumer reports before entering your credit card information. Avoid using your credit card at any website that has a poor customer service record with the Better Business Bureau.

Use a Credit Card Online Instead of a Debit Card

Credit cards offer more protection against fraudulent charges than debit cards. With credit cards, your maximum liability for fraudulent charges is $50. However, with debit card fraud, you could be liable for up to $500.

Not only that, if your debit card is compromised, you could lose access to all the money in your checking account until the bank sorts out the fraud. It could take days to get your funds back.

Meanwhile, your bills are coming due and you could face late penalties from the companies you owe. Fraudulent credit card charges don't take anything from your pocket and are easier to resolve with your card issuer.

Make Sure the Credit Card Entry Page Is Secure

Only enter your credit card information on secure websites that will protect your information. You can check a website's security by checking the URL. On the page that you enter your credit card information, the URL in your browser's address bar should begin with "https://". There should be a lock next to the URL indicating you're on a secure website.

If you're not on a secure website, your credit card information is at risk.

Print Your Online Credit Card Receipts

When you use your credit card online, always print or screenshot a copy of your receipt or confirmation to track your spending details. Then, compare the amount on your receipt to the amount on your billing statement to make sure the totals match. Contact your credit card issuer if you spot incorrect amounts or other suspicious activity.

Article Sources

  1. Federal Trade Commission. “Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.” Accessed Sept. 15, 2020.