Best methods and tips for secure online payment

The internet has significantly changed the way we shop today. People can order groceries, clothes, electronics, services, and basically anything they desire from the comfort of their home. A couple of clicks and the items are on their way. Could it be that simple? Yes, but this comfort comes with potential risks. Whenever you place an order online, you are potentially exposed to a security breach. Being aware of secure online payments are essential to anyone ever taking advantage of online shopping. In this article, we have collected some of the most secure online payment methods with useful tips on how to prevent security breaches.

Credit cards

Credit card payments are one of the most popular. It is convenient, fast, and most importantly a highly secure online payment method. Credit cards have strong fraud protection features and your financial details are usually encrypted. The purchase amount is paid by your bank and you only pay later, therefore; it is relatively easy to reverse funds in case of a fraudulent transaction. Although the risk of a data breach is low, it is still there. Whenever shopping online, make sure that the site you are using is secure enough. If the site’s URL starts with “https:” and you can see a padlock icon at the top left corner it means that the site has the essential security features for secure online payments. On the other hand, your bank is at your disposal if you encounter any suspicious activity associated with your credit card when shopping online. Financial institutions are well prepared for online fraud. If it ever happens to you, contact your card issuer straight away to prevent any further fraud. Alternatively, you could have a prepaid debit card to ensure secure online payments. They work like credit cards but you are spending your own money that you transferred to this card in advance.

Debit Cards

Paying with a debit card online might be the most popular option of all. It is just as convenient as credit cards; however, online payments made by debit cards are deducted directly from your account. It can be more complicated to get your money back in case of a data breach. Nevertheless, debit card payments are secure as they come with 24-hour fraud monitoring services and, one-time passwords, and, in most cases, “zero liability” protection which means that you won’t be held responsible for unauthorised purchases. The best is to check with your current card issuer on their protection policies against online fraud. However, if you have only one debit card and you frequently shop online, your best bet is to have a dedicated card strictly for online shopping. This way you can keep just as much money on it as you need for a specific purchase, and if anything happens, you can easily cancel that card without affecting your other payments such as household expenses.

Third-party payment services

One of the most secure online payment methods is using a third-party payment service. By doing so, you add another layer on top of security as you only share your credit card or bank account information with the service provider. For example, if you shop on different websites and you are unsure about their security, it’s probably a good time to take advantage of one of the payment services available for online purchases. PayPal is one of the most popular and secure, however, there are other services available such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Skrill. For instance, if you are using PayPal, you only have to share your email address, associated with your PayPal account, on the website where you purchase. Some payment services also offer buyer protection which means they reimburse the amount of purchase if you receive wrong or faulty products.

Wire Transfer

In some cases, wire transfers are accepted for online purchases, depending on the merchant. Your bank and several external companies are offering wire transfer services; however, security and fees are different by providers. It is worth conducting some research prior to transferring money, especially for international transfer, as several companies offer great wire transfer solutions with minimal risk and fees.

Tips for keeping your online payments secure

  • Make sure your password is strong, and don’t use the same one for all your online accounts. The more upper and lower characters, symbols and digits you are using, the better.
  • Look for “https:” in the URL of a web shop and the padlock icon at the top left corner. If you only see “http:”, do not proceed with the purchase.
  • If possible, use a dedicated credit or debit card for online purchases only.
  • Make sure to log out after each online purchase and never let your browser store your password, username, and credit card details.
  • Use a third-party payment service, such as PayPal, to ensure secure online payment.
  • Make sure that your firewall, anti-virus program, and browser are updated to their latest edition. Running virus scans is also a good idea to prevent potential threats.
  • Do not access any sensitive information (i.e. your bank account) or shop when connected to a public Wi-Fi. These networks make your internet activity easily exposed.
  • Keep track of your online purchases and compare them with your bank statements.
  • Keep personal information personal, even on social media. Do not post your personal details or any sensitive information on social media.
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