7 Safety Tips You Should Keep in Mind When Using a Credit Card
Your credit card is a gateway to rewards on travel and other perks, but it also has the potential for fraudulent activities. How can you ensure proper credit card safety?
Credit cards always come with more consumer protection than cash or debit cards, but this doesn’t mean you should be lax in protecting yourself. This is especially true when using your card to shop online, as the internet is full of credit card thieves.
Financer.com has prepared these seven practical credit card safety tips:
1. Use Your Credit Card on Trusted Websites Only
There are phishing attempts everywhere. Some come in emails and are relatively easy to sniff out, but some also pose as real websites with names that look familiar. Before you ever enter your credit card information, look at the URL and make sure it’s the one you intended to shop at.
2. Use Your Computer to Make Online Purchases
Public computers are less secure than the one you have at home. Using a public computer to make online purchases puts you at risk of having your personal information stolen. You should also use special care when shopping via public WiFi.
3. Protect Your Computer Against Viruses
Hackers have the ability to expose you to fake websites that may contain malware. Having the latest antivirus software is a great way to keep all your information safe – including your credit card.
4. Always Get a Credit Card Receipt (Even Online)
Always print a copy of receipt after making purchases. You can then compare with your billing statement and verify that the totals match.
5. Report Lost or Stolen Cards Immediately
Contact your card issuer right away if your credit card is stolen so that your card will be blocked right away. You can also block your card via your online banking. Prompt action will ensure you block the card before anyone makes unauthorized purchases.
6. Keep Your Passwords Secret and Hard to Guess
A good password is long and combines letters and numbers. A strong password protects you from hackers. You also want to avoid obvious passwords like birthdays and names. Although many people reuse passwords for websites, banking passwords should be different and unique.
7. Store Your PIN Safely and Secure Your Card
Do not store your PIN in the same place as your card. Also, sign the back of the card as soon as you receive it. Never just write “See ID” in the signature line — this makes the card invalid, and it’s easier to make a fake ID than to forge a signature.
Credit Card Safety Online
Shopping online with your credit card is incredibly convenient. Not only can you get great deals, but you never have to leave the house. But this does open you up to various threats, so take special precaution when using your credit card online:
- Never reveal your account number online.
- Check that you’re on the right site and its SSL secured.
- Secure your receipts and shred them when you no longer need them.
- Check the issuing bank’s fraud protection.
The Pros and Cons of Credit Cards
Buy now pay later
Can be used as a short term interest-free loan
safer than carrying cash
Pros of Credit Cards
Temptation to live above your means
Late payments charge high interest
Late payments can damage your credit score
Cons of Credit Cards
A credit card gives you the freedom of buying now and paying later, and when used right, they’re like interest-free loans. Cards are also safer to use than cash thanks to their extensive fraud protections, and they allow you to easily book hotels and rental cars while getting you points back.
However, credit cards have their risks. These include: