The amount of money spent shopping online is increasing every year, with projections now suggesting American will spend well over $100 billion online over just the 2014 holiday season. Virtually all of those purchases will be made using credit cards. While shopping online is relatively safe, that much money is a lot of temptation for some less-than-honest individuals to resist. To protect your credit card while shopping online, credit experts recommend taking a few simple precautions.
1. Don’t store credit information on your browser.
When Chrome, Internet Explorer or another browser asks if it should store your credit information, decline the option. If you’ve already saved credit information, access the auto-fill settings and delete any information stored there. Don’t save credit information on websites, even when those sites have been secure in the past. It is far safer to enter the credit information each time you purchase an item or service even if it is less convenient.
2. Never provide any credit card information to a site that is not secure.
Look for the https prefix in the URL and the small padlock typically used to indicate a secure site. If those are not present, buy from a different merchant. Of course, if you trust the vendor, call the company rather than ordering online.
3. Consider using a dedicated credit card for online purchases.
While credit card losses are limited by law, the inconvenience involved with credit card fraud can be substantial. By using a single credit card with a low card limit, the issues involved with fraud are minimized. In addition, the cards used for other activities are not affected while an account subjected to fraud is canceled and replaced. For additional protection, do not use a debit card for online shopping, as the rules are somewhat different, leaving shoppers with a greater potential for loss.
Although it is generally safe to use a credit card for online purchasing, it is still important to protect credit card information. By following a few simple precautions, the chance of incurring a loss is minimized. Of course, it also pays to stay up-to-date with changes in how credit card theft occurs and altering your habits to stay protected in the future.