• Safe Use of Credit Cards While Shopping Online

    Online shopping seems to be the new fad. Almost everything under the sun can be bought and sold online. Shopping and buying has seen a massive change with advent of new age technologies that have simplified the process.

    One of the most common leisure time activities during the festive seasons(and also otherwise) is shopping and gifting. It’s time to gift your loved ones and pamper yourself with some goodies, apparel and accessories. Owing to a tectonic shift in the way we shop and buy, Filipinos are taking the web route to procure their favorite goods and articles. The e commerce space has never been so vibrant before with leading brands making their presence felt through online stores. Buying online seems to be the new fad in Philippines due to discounts offered, convenience of shopping and easy returns policy.

    Most of us prefer credit/debit cards for shopping online as it's convenient to use a card and pay upfront instead of paying cash on delivery. In case of returns, the payment can be easily refunded by the company into your card account. Use credit cards for shopping online can be a delightful experience if you follow certain basic security measures to keep the card information safe, away from fraudsters and hackers online. As you’ll be aware, credit card fraud is on the rise, compromising critical information by using the loopholes in the system. It not only affects the credit, but your personal information may also be misused by fraudsters for illegal transactions.

    You don’t want to spoil it with dealing with something of this sort. A little bit of caution and awareness can do the trick. Lets look at the some of the most basic tips that help in transacting safely online, without being exposed.

    1. Shop Only Over Secured & Trusted Websites
    2. There are so many ecommerce sites cropping up every other day. The newer ones use the web advertisement route on search engines to promote their products. There are many fly-by-night sites that can lure you into shopping with them by offering freebies and unbelievable discounts but not actually deliver the product(s), resulting in online fraud. Do not use brands and names that you’ve never heard of before. If needed, read reviews and check for additional resources which confirm authenticity of the portal.

      If it looks suspicious, do not buy or make a payment online. It's better to be safe than sorry. You don't want to pay upfront with your credit card and fight it out with the card issuer later, raising a dispute.

    3. Avoid Using Debit Cards to Pay
    4. Technically, if you’re using a debit card to pay for a fraudulent charge without knowing, you may not receive much assistance from the bank in terms of investigating the fraud. If it's a large ticket purchase, it will wipe out a substantial amount from your bank account. Use credit cards to pay for purchases online which helps in recovering the amount spent in case of a bogus merchant. Banks maintain an exclusive mechanism to deal with fraudulent and fake transactions in liaison with law enforcement agencies. You’re sure to find a solution in terms of being refunded by the bank for fraudulent charge(s) and further investigation taken up by the relevant department at the bank’s end if it is a credit card.

    5. Use Only Secure Sites to Transact
    6. Most of the e commerce portals are certified by various competitive authorities/agencies for the level of security it offers for customers and their personal information that includes bank/card details. Lookout for some of the popular certificates and use only trusted sites. Your anti-virus software and firewall can also be of good help as they alert you on visits to sites that are not certified, helping you to decide if you want to proceed further. Some of the most trusted sites provide details of their certification on the home page, helping you to ascertain the level of risk associated by transacting using the credit card.

    7. Understand the Payment Gateways Used
    8. After choosing your product on an e com portal and decide to pay for it, the payment is generally routed to a third party payment gateway that processes the payment by using codes that link it to your bank’s portal. This is a critical phase since the card and personal information is being processed by the service provider to authenticate with your bank. If the network is not encrypted, the card and personal information may be compromised by hackers. Therefore, lookout for any deviations in the standard payments process and report to the seller immediately if you find anything suspicious.

      After the payment is successfully debited from your card account, the gateway should immediately route you back to the merchant’s web portal.

    9. Don’t Provide Passwords & Irrelevant Information
    10. One of the most critical aspects of transacting online with cards. Do not provide unwanted information or passwords such as ATM PIN numbers while making the payment. Most of the banks let you authenticate the payment by means of a one time password known as the T-PIN sent to your registered mobile number and email address. The irrelevant information you provide can be used by hackers to clone the card electronically and use it for making unauthorized purchases. Also, refrain from providing personal information such as SS number online when it serves no purpose. In a longer term, this sensitive information can be used to create fake identities.

    11. Refrain From Using Public Internet Networks
    12. Do not use public internet hotspots to pay for your purchases since they may be prone to intrusion and are considered unsafe. Instead, use a home of community internet service which are secured by firewalls and additional layers of security where the chances are intrusion are minimal. Do not blindly use free Wi-Fi hotspots to make payment using your credit card. Hackers and fraudsters are always on the prowl looking to hack into unprotected systems and networks.

    13. Install Anti Virus & Firewall Systems
    14. Personal computers without proper security are always risky, especially if you’re using internet. Use trusted software’s to safeguard your desktop or laptop from intrusions aimed at accessing sensitive information from your computer that includes credit card and bank information. Do not install pirated versions of these software’s but instead rely upon paid and licensed copies. Always remember to update anti-virus and firewall at regular intervals to cover new risks and viruses. This task makes sure your network remains safe and you can transact online securely.

    15. Use Chip Based Cards
    16. As most of you know, credit cards use magnetic strip to communicate with compatible machines and servers. However, this technology is outdated and prone to cloning, where hackers use information taken from these magnetic strips to clone credit cards and make fraudulent transactions. Always insist on receiving chip embedded cards that keep your card and personal information shielded from risks. If you have a card with just the strip, contact the bank and inquire if they can replace it with a chip card.

    Understand More On Credit Card Management Tips

    Well, the list above has been compiled, keeping in mind the latest threats to safe shopping online. There can be many other underlying elements that can pose a risk to the delightful shopping experience. You also need to spend wisely with credit cards since you can get carried away with the spirits of a good shopping experience. After all, credit card is like a loan that you borrow and payback with quite a bit of interest charges. Here are some tips for you to make the most optimum usage.

    Spend Wisely

    Do not sway to the tunes of those luring offers that burn a hole in your credit card. Choose your products wisely and spend only as much as you can afford. Credit cards can be a trap if you do not limit the spend value. Compare products online offered on various portals and buy only those that offer the best price along with meeting other objectives. Check the card balance at regular intervals and stay within the limits that is considered safe.

    Lookout for Discounts and Offers

    E commerce sites run a plethora of campaigns on specific products such as clothing and apparel which guarantee some of the best discounts and freebies. Search for such offers that helps you in savings money in terms of the price paid for article, thus saving the burden on the credit card.

    Opt for EMI(Equated Monthly Installment)

    Nearly, all card providers offer EMI payment option where large ticket purchases over a certain value can be converted into installment payments, payable over a predefined period. Most of these schemes come at 0% interest. Banks also tie up with online merchants to offer you easy to convert EMI options along with discounts and rebates. Watch Out for these offers on the promo page of the website of either the bank or the seller.

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