The holiday season is here. More than ever, shoppers turn to online shopping to shop for gifts and decorations.
Online shopping has its perks, but there are also risks involved. Knowing how to shop safely online this holiday season is essential to ensure your credit card and personal identifying information stays out of the wrong hands.
Here is some advice to make your online shopping experience a secure one:
Choose your card carefully
Most times, when you shop online, you’ll need to enter card data into an online form. But it’s important to ensure you’re using the right card for these purchases.
Your credit card is not linked to your bank account. When you swipe the card or enter the digits into a form, your credit card issuer is the one fronting the bill; you’ll pay it off later. This means that if a criminal steals your credit card information, they do not have access to your bank account.
This is different for debit cards. Your debit card links directly to your bank account. Someone who obtains your debit card number could reach into your bank account and take your funds.
Mobile banking can help you keep track of your spending. If you typically make online payments with your debit card, you can monitor unauthorized activity by setting up alerts with your checking account. You can set a notification whenever there’s a purchase over a certain amount.
Avoid complicated fraud claims
Another crucial difference between credit and debit cards is the legal process following fraud. And fraud is especially prevalent with online purchases.
Credit cards are more heavily protected, and most consumers who experience fraud with their credit cards won’t pay for fraudulent charges, The Balance noted. In many cases, the most you’ll lose is $50.
Debit cards, however, are trickier to dispute fraud with, and the process to resolve issues is longer.
Mobile wallets are another secure way to pay. If you use Bank Midwest’s mobile wallet, you can make quick and safe payments at your favorite stores that accept Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Android Pay.
Shop at home (or on a secure network)
One perk of online shopping is its convenience. You can shop while walking your dog, if you want to. But just because you can shop from anywhere doesn’t mean you should.
If you’re connected to public Wi-Fi, there’s always a chance that a hacker is spying on your activity and stealing your card data, NerdWallet pointed out. This is different when you’re connected to your internet at home or another network you know is secure.
Want to learn more about shopping safely this holiday season? Listen to our episode of Dream, Plan, Live.