Online shopping is becoming more and more accessible because of smartphones. It’s convenient to be able to browse products anytime and have it delivered right at your doorstep. Most merchants now accept credit cards on their e-commerce websites because of its popularity among customers. This payment method is one of the preferred ways to pay as it allows users to pay one bill for various purchases. However, there are also risks involved when you shop online.
Here are the pros and cons of online shopping using your credit card:
Credit cards are one of the widely used payment methods for online shopping because of its convenience. You merely have to connect your card to your account upon registration and then shop freely on the site. Plus, once you’ve placed your order, you don’t need to wait at home for your package to arrive and pay the delivery personnel since you’ve already paid for it.
2. Fraud Monitoring
You get full protection against fraudulent purchases done using your credit card without your authorization. You can call bank hotlines to report transactions on your monthly bill that you did not perform or approve since they have a 24/7 fraud monitoring team. Merchants can also help you locate the hacker by checking a bank identification number or bin database and coordinating with the authorities to catch the cybercriminal.
These are some tips to ensure the safety of your financial information when shopping online:
Shop on Secure Sites Only – Always check if the website is secure before putting in your credit card information. You can do this by making certain that the store’s URL starts with an “https” and a padlock icon shows up at the beginning of the address bar.
Purchase at Home – It’s best to do your online shopping at home and use a private network. Connecting to public Wi-Fi makes you susceptible to people nearby who want to intercept your financial information while it’s being sent to the e-commerce site’s server. You can also take advantage of a virtual private network (VPN) in your personal computer to add another layer of security.
Install Anti-virus Software – Protect your computer or laptop by installing an anti-virus program that alerts you whenever there’s a suspicious software that you’re about to download. Hackers often use malware or ransomware to gain access to all your data, including browser history.
Take Note of Your Expenses– List down the purchases you made for the month and compare that amount with the one that’s reflected on your billing statement. This way, you can easily see any discrepancies and report it to your bank accordingly.
You can take advantage of the promos that banks offer to their clients. Some provide a cash-back program for your purchases, whereas others grant you loyalty points, which are as good as earning back the money you spent as you can exchange the value for goods and services. Many credit card companies tie up with merchants to give their customers discounts if they use their card to buy from their partners.
1. Security Risks
As mentioned above, online shopping is susceptible to security breaches. Cybercriminals have sophisticated tools that they use to illegally access your data especially when you leave yourself vulnerable to their attacks. Shopping at many websites without checking their security increases the likelihood of your financial information being stolen. You should always perform the URL check and be wary of sites that ask for too many details, particularly those that aren’t needed for your purchase, such as your Social Security Number.
2. Interest Rates
When you buy an item today using a credit card, you get about a month’s leeway before you need to pay for it. However, this perk comes with interest rates that, when added to the retail price, make you end up paying more than the amount you would have paid if you used cash. It’s not a significant problem if you use credit cards only for your needs, but it can be dangerous if you waste this privilege on unimportant things because you’ll be accumulating unnecessary debt.
When used correctly and responsibly, credit cards become an asset instead of a liability. Assess yourself if you can fight the temptation to go on an online shopping spree. If not, then you should stick to paying using your debit card or through electronic wallets. This way, you give yourself a limit on how much you can spend in the digital marketplace.