It is becoming more and more difficult to keep your credit cards safe from online fraud and deception. Some companies have instituted measures that are helping. Here's what you can do to keep online credit card transactions secure.
PayPal. PayPal was started in order to further safe payment activities on the Internet. PayPal allows you to use a simple email address that is connected to an account. Anytime you make a payment with your email address, the money is dropped from this account. Also, those who also participate in PayPal as buyers, can send money to your PayPal account with just your email address. The idea is to 'hide' or secure your account behind an email account which results having to expose your account information to potential theft. That is not to say that there are those who have used stealthy methods to obtain a person's money from their PayPal account, but it is one of the safer ways to conduct commerce on the Internet. PayPal is used by many who do business through eBay and is owned by them as well.
Verisign. This company is in the business of verifying secure sites with which to perform business on the Internet. They are seen with their small padlock on or near where your payments would have been made on an Internet site.
One credit card for online use only. There is another philosophy about conducting business on the Internet that makes sense and insolates a person from fraud and identity theft. This involves the use of a credit card that is obtained solely for the purpose of buying items on the Internet. The way it should work is that you would get a credit card and use it only for buying items on the Internet. Untilmore, you would make sure that the account limit would be low enough to cover your purchases but high enough to be able to make the purchases that you need to in order to conduct business in this manner.
Even though you are not responsible to pay if your credit card number is stolen and used, this still helps mitigate the frustration that occurs if something does happen. And, it keeps your other credit cards from becoming exposed on the Internet to hackers who try to obtain numbers by cracking large databases.
Separate bank accounts. Some have even suggested further isolating your online banking activities from the rest of your financial activities by opening up a separate checking account through which all money flows for Internet shopping activities. And, if you open the account at the same bank as your primary checking account, then you could move money between the two accounts easily by logging onto the Internet, or by using phone services.
All of this follows the changes that the credit card industry has gone through in the last year of financial turmoil. It is reflected in the difficulty in obtaining some of the best cards that are offered, like balance transfer cards and specific rewards based cards, too.
The answer to the question of whether or not it is safe to use credit cards in online shopping activities, the answer is 'yes' but within the guidelines presented above. If you choose not to make use of them then you open up yourself to the headaches and problems associated with having your card number stolen. Plus, it costs money in terms of the time that it takes companies to investigate and prove each incident.