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One of the most common questions users ask us at Credit Shout, “is it safe to use my debit card online?”That’s a great question.In this article, we’re going to be discussing how to stay safe online while using your debit card.
Online security has come a long way over the last 10 years.That doesn’t mean things can’t happen because they can.Even so, there’s a lot of ways you can make it a lot more difficult for thieves to get your debit card number.
Beware Where You’re Using Your Debit Card
Rule number 1, be aware of where you’re using your debit card.If you’re not familiar with the brand, proceed with caution.
Big brands like Amazon and Wal-Mart, many people are quite familiar with them and know they are legit companies.However, you still need to be careful when you’re buying from a brand you don’t know.
Make Sure The Website Is Secure And Encrypted
Next, you want to make sure the online website is secured and encrypted.
There’s a few easy ways to find out if a site is secured.
The URL address should have https and not http
You should see a lock icon that is secure in the URL bar
While these are certainly important to have, just because they do have it doesn’t mean you should ignore who the company is.As we said above, you always have to be aware of who you purchase from, especially using your debit card online.
Don’t Shop Online With Hotspots
While WiFi can be secure at home, don’t go shopping on outside WiFi, also Hotspots.For example, many coffee shops have Hotspots where you can get free WiFi.There could be scammers hacking those connections and you can easily get your debit card numbers and private information stolen.
Coffee shops are not the only areas where you have to worry.You have hospitals, airports and libraries that also have personal hotspots for users to join.While some of these may have better security, it’s wise to stay away from them all.If you’re going to be shopping online, make sure you do it from home and make sure your connections are always protected.
Never Send Your Debit Card Via Email
Every real business that sells products or services online uses a secure online process to do just that.This secure process will never involve soliciting your credit card or debit card information via email.All online purchases should be made through a secure online form or page as we discussed just above.
No company worth doing business with will ever request your credit card in an email, but scammers often do.Oftentimes, they do so by posing as more legitimate and familiar sources like the IRS, Apple, or Paypal.
Even when an email looks like it comes from a source you trust, check the email address it comes from and avoid clicking directly on any links provided in the email.By doing a search on the link included in the email, you can both check its legitimacy and check to see if there might be any discounts available for the offer if it is legitimate.
Always Monitor Your Accounts
At the very least, you should be monitoring your debit and credit cards closely.Thanks to technology, many of you can do that easily from your phone.Check to see if your credit card company or bank has a mobile app.
Many credit card issuers also have a secure online portal where you can safely access your credit card account.The same is true for debit cards, even the local banks now usually have a mobile app or online account access.Most banks have online portals or apps that are free to sign up to, so take advantage of that and create an account so you can monitor your debit card.
While we’re referring to debit cards, you want to do the same for your credit cards also.
If you’re paying close attention to your accounts, you can spot issues as soon as they happen.Most banking institutions and credit card issuers have portals where you can get notifications as needed.Many of these are free to sign up for, they shouldn’t cost you any additional money to monitor your accounts.
Now, if you’re trying to monitor your credit, that’s different, you’ll likely have to pay money.One example of this would be FICO, which charges a monthly fee to access your FICO credit scores.
Never Give Your Information Out
It can be tempting to give a close friend your account information in their time of need or a family member you trust.However, family or not, we never recommend giving your account information out.
Also, you never want to write down your account information on anything.You’d be surprised by how many people do this and end up forgetting about it being written down.Next thing you know, someone finds out what you wrote and they now have your debit card information.
Never send your information through email or text too.It’s best to never give your information to anyone.Period.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.