Monday, April 14, 2014

Tips to Ensure Your Online Credit Card Purchases Are Safe

The Internet has brought the world into our living rooms making shopping online easy and convenient, but as many can attest, this is not always safe. Although protecting yourself from every imaginable threat is nearly impossible, not to mention incredibly stressful, you can significantly reduce the risks. As an individual, the only thing you have to be concerned about is your own security, but if you are a small business owner, then the security of your customers is also a primary concern.

Individual Security 
Before making a purchase you need to consider two things-the security of the computer you are using and the trustworthiness of the retailer handling your credit card details.
• When shopping online it is safest to use your personal computer Many websites and programs save login information, as a convenience, however if you happen to be using a shared computer, this convenience gives the person using the computer after you easy access to your account. Another concern is that you do not know what software is on an unknown computer. There are a great many tools out there for hackers, like key logging software that can be used to record your usernames, passwords, you name it. So, make it difficult for virtual thieves, use your own computer!
• Don’t shop while connected to public Wi-Fi The safest place to shop online from is your home. Hackers and thieves can gather information you transmit and receive over a public Wi-Fi, so make sure your Wi-Fi at home is private and secure.
• Use good Anti-Virus software If you are connected to the Internet then you need anti-virus software. However just installing one is not enough. Different software catch different types of viruses, so install two reliable software that scan and update your machine regularly.
  • Keep your computer up to date Every piece of software has a flaw somewhere, as the developers discover these flaws they release patches to counteract the loophole. It is especially important to keep your operating system and browser up to date, as hackers can use these holes to gain access to your computer and steal information.
• Passwords ‘Password’ as a password, is not a password. Strong passwords really do make a difference. Use a combination of numbers, symbols and letters; this will dramatically improve your online safety. The password for each account should be unique; using the same password for multiple accounts is just easier on hackers.
• Only buy from reputable retailers Before giving an online retailer your credit card details check that they are reputed. Make sure the website looks plausible. Is it old or poorly designed? Check review sites to see what others say. You will usually be safer dealing with large well-known companies.
• S for secure There are a couple of quick checks you can do before entering your details on a web page. Look at the web page’s address; it should start with https:// not http://. The ‘s’ is important; it tells you that they are transmitting your information in a secure encrypted manner. Another green light is if the website displays seals of approval from organizations like Better Business Bureau and VeriSign.

There are a number of organizations that verify the quality of security a website is using. If a website passes then it is allowed to display the seal of approval. Unfortunately these seals can be faked, but almost all genuine retailers will display one or more seals of approval. So if a seal is absent then refrain from entering your credit card details.
Security of a Small Business All of the tips for individuals apply to small businesses that are making purchases online. In addition however, you need to consider the safety of your customers. The easiest way to do this is by using a reputable merchant account service. There are a heap of different providers so choosing the right one can be tricky. Here are a few guidelines to help.
  • PCI DSS compliancy The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard has been established to ensure that businesses dealing with credit card information are storing and transmitting data in a safe and secure way. Making sure your business meets these standards can be made significantly easier by choosing a merchant account service provider that is compliant and works with you.
• Reputation With so many providers using such a wide range of hardware and software to provide services, it is virtually impossible to keep track of everything. Look for a payment processor with a proven track record such as and remember it is worth paying a bit more to protect your customers and the reputation of your business.

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Author Bio: Jordan is a 28 year old entrepreneur and a former Business Developer. With an insatiable appetite for the good life, keeps himself current on topics related to technology, gaming and his first love, food. He shares his views in his blog posts hoping to provide valuable information to entrepreneurs like himself who wish to establish a successful business.


  1. I always check to see if the site has a valid data encryption certificate and try to do business with major sites like Amazon. I also never store credit card info on a site. Not sure if that will prevent problems but it will limit the chances that my credit card data will be hacked.

    1. Yes, I am surprised some of the people I know store their credit card info on sites. I never would.

  2. One thing I like about my Citi Dividends credit card is that you can create a virtual account number, with a lower spending limit and a 'current month' expiration date. I use this whenever I am shopping from a site that I'm 'new' to. So if I have a $45 purchase, I'll just create a virtual card with a spending limit of $50, and that limits any damage that could be done if the site was compromised or a scam.

  3. I usually never access any sensitive information when on a public computer or on public wifi. You just never know.

    When I worked for a financial advisor, we had a client traveling and accessed his email at a hot spot. We received an email from his account asking to withdraw a good amount of money. It was written in a tone that wasn't him, so we called him up only to find out someone accessed his email from that hot spot.

    1. Oh wow, how scary but great you picked it straight away. My bank has always been very on the ball actually, any purchase out of the ordinary for me they have called me about which surprised me. So far no issues though, just me buying random stuff.

  4. I try to be very careful on public Wi-Fi. A few years ago my laptop got some kind of virus, likely from a Wi-Fi hotspot, and it could never be fully repaired. This speaks to how private information could also be at risk, which is why I'm careful what I access in terms of financially-related information.


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