Protect Your Credit Card: 5 Easy Ways To Make Safer Purchases Online

ways-to-protect-yourself-online-contests

The United States is THE global hotbed for credit card fraud. In fact, the U.S. is responsible for 47 percent of the world’s card fraud despite only conducting 24 percent of worldwide transaction volume. (Source: Barclays’ Security in Payments: A Look into Fraud, Fraud Prevention, & the Future, May 22, 2015)

Historically, U.S.credit card fraud has been spread pretty evenly between in-person, over the phone and eCommerce transactions. As the U.S. implements EMV chip technology, however, retail credit card fraud is expected to plummet, and fraudsters are expected to shift their attack to card-not-present (online and phone) transactions.  (Source: http://aitegroup.com/report/emv-lessons-learned-and-us-outlook). And with the total value of card-not-present transactions expected to grow from $9 billion in 2013 to $19 billion by 2018 (Source: https://www.javelinstrategy.com/brochure/359), there is a real need for customers to take basic steps to make ensure that their credit card data is better protected.

In this article, we’ll cover five easy to implement techniques to improve the security of your credit card data when making online purchases:

  1. Choose eCommerce over MoTo

When making an online purchase, there was a time when it was safer to call a business and make a purchase via their call center, rather than making the purchase viatheir online shopping cart. That is no longer the case. In fact, while high profile eCommerce security breaches make for splashy news headlines, national estimates are that 75 to 80 percent of business card fraud and theft is from employees. (Source: http://businessmagazinegainesville.com/employee-theft-corporate-americas-dirty-little-secret/) Thus, one of the most risky things you can do when making a purchase is to provide an employeewith your credit card data over the phone. This is particularly true with call centers, where employee turnover is high, and in some cases oversight is low.

  1. Consider Using a Cheaper Credit Card

We don’t often think about it this way, but credit card theft is committed by relatively rational actors, who have to make tradeoffs between risk and reward. It should come as no surprise then that thieves often target credit cards that indicate a higher monthly credit limit, or indicate that the card holder is a person of considerable wealth. For example, elite cards such as the Centurion, Inifinite and AmEx Black card report fraud rates of 1.7%, versus Gold and Platinum cards of 1.0%, and basic or local cards of 0.8%. (source: Forter.com) That is to say, you are 2.125x more likely to be a victim of credit card fraud if you own an “elite” credit card as opposed to a basic credit card.

Card types Fraud rate
Elite (Centurion, Infinite, Black) 1.7%
Gold & Platinum 1.0%
Loyalty clubs/Intl. 1.0%
Basic/local 0.8%
Corporate/Business 0.7%
  1. Set Up Transaction Alerts

Most credit card issuers now have the technological capability to send you text or email messages to alert you to a new credit card transaction. This is an effective check against unauthorized transactions. While, in theory, you can accomplish the same oversight by fastidiously checking your monthly credit card statement, the reality is that if your credit card was used by a fraudster at a national eCommerce retailer you might not notice the fraudulent charge, in the same way you would if you received a text the instant the fraudulent charge was authorized.

If you’re concerned about excessive text rates or don’t want to clutter your inbox, many credit card issuers will permit you to only receive alerts on card-not-present transactions.

  1. Use Credit, Not Debit

Many consumers have an aversion to using credit cards for fear that they will encourage them to overspend, and thus prefer to use a debit card for all ‘plastic’ transactions. While there is certainly some merit to that line of thinking, the fraud protection benefits of using a credit card for card-not-present transactions should outweigh those concerns for most consumers. That’s because not only do the card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, etc.) invest heavily in an extra layer of fraud identification and prevention, but they also provide you with an additional layer of extra protection in the form of chargeback protection. When reviewing your credit card statement, should you notice that there is a fraudulent charge, you’ll be able to report the transaction as such and receive an immediate credit on your credit card balance while the situation is investigated. That same protection is not typically available when using a debit card.

  1. Make purchases via secured pages only.

While eCommerce as a general category continues to make security improvements, there remains a wide range of technological differences between the security employed by eCommerce websites.  One of the easiest ways you can determine whether an eCommerce site has made some steps towards ensuring a more secure eCommerce transaction process is to make sure that the website is SSL secured. An SSL secured transaction page creates an encrypted connection between your computer’s website browser and the server. And while this is only one link in the security chain, it’s a readily identifiable indication that the company takes customer data security seriously. Symantec helps in protecting your devices from all e-threats and provides great security at lowest prices.

trusted-secure

Conclusion

Credit card fraud is a real concern that Americans should be aware of. Unfortunately, however, the ways in which it is reported in the media don’t necessarily align with the actual risks that Americans face, and thus lead to improperly placed efforts to mitigate risk. By better understanding the actual threats to credit card data posed by card-not-present transactions, however, customers can take the relatively simple steps outlined above to mitigate their risk.

About the Author

Brad Martin is an editor with Soar Payments, a high risk merchant services provider. You can stay updated about the latest Soar Payments developments by following their Twitter or Facebook feeds.

 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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