Nowadays, when people can exchange information with each other in a matter of seconds, putting more focus on our security is a good idea. One area that we should treat with special care is online finances.
Whether old or young, everyone on the Internet is under constant threat of becoming a victim of some type of cyberattack. Additionally, as surveillance tries to catch up with hackers and other cybercriminals, our privacy becomes more difficult to sustain. This situation results in many people questioning the safety of online payments.
If you wish to learn more about paying online and how risky it actually is, you came to the right place. Here is everything you need to know.
What is an Online Payment?
Online payment refers to an e-transaction between two or more parties that involves electronic processes. This kind of transaction can be conducted via a website, mobile device, or even a physical point of sale.
Online payment can be:
- Direct – made by the shopper himself
- Indirect – a third party, makes the payment on behalf of the shopper
- Subscription – a recurring payment made to access a service.
What are The Benefits of Online Payments?
Just like any other payment method, each type of online payment has its benefits and drawbacks.
The biggest advantage of online payments is that they are instantaneous. This means that you do not have to wait in line for your transaction to be completed. Additionally, you do not have to carry money with you all the time. You can use your preferred payment method to withdraw money from an ATM or transfer money from one account to another. All you have to do is enter the required details.
Drawbacks of Online Payments
The most significant disadvantage of online payments is that they require you to provide your personal information and banking credentials to third-party companies. This exposes you to possible identity theft and financial fraud. Additionally, Internet users often get spammed by cybercriminals who try to trick them into revealing private information.
To avoid this unwanted situation, one can only use trusted payment systems and services that protect their customers. Websites that provide secure online payments use protocols that encrypt personal data and account numbers. This way, customers’ information won’t be revealed to anyone, not even the website owners themselves.
Is it Safe to Make an Online Payment?
As we have discussed above, using online payments comes with many advantages and disadvantages. However, security should be the main priority for everyone who uses this kind of payment method. Therefore, you should always choose websites that offer secure services and comply with all industry standards (for example, PCI DSS). In case you want to make an online payment with your credit card, here are some additional tips that you should consider:
- Use reputable intermediaries who store your data in encryption-protected databases and follow industry standards when storing sensitive information
- Additionally, you should also consider having your sensitive information stored by independent companies that are not related in any way to the website (e.g., Amazon AWS).
- Credit card companies can also help you maintain your credit card security. While making your online transaction, don’t enter your PIN in any public space like a shop or a restaurant (just as you would do with any ATM).
- Always check whether the website is secure before making your transaction (e.g., HTTPS://) and pay attention to warning signs such as:
- Incomplete SSL certificate
- Unencrypted transfer protocol
- Unencrypted email addresses
- Incomplete security information on their website
- Bad grammar in any of their emails
- Phishing emails and malicious software
- Unusual activity on your credit card account
- Any other suspicious activity
- If you do not know for sure whether or not a website is secure, don’t be afraid to contact their support team and ask them whether or not they have implemented any security measures for their customers. You can also start a live chat with their agents if you wish to find out more about their policies regarding their customers’ personal information security and privacy.
- Don’t buy software or apps that claim to offer you special security features (e.g., antivirus software) without having real evidence of what they are offering you. Never enter your credit card details through a phishing email.
Keep in mind that if you receive an email from a website asking you to confirm or validate your account details or make a purchase, there is nothing wrong with that email itself. It only means that someone managed to steal your credentials.
In order to verify the legitimacy of an email, always start a live chat with their agents (if possible) via their official website (not through their email). If you’re not getting an answer from them after some time, send them an email instead and ask them about any problems you might face while accessing their site or using their services.
Is It Safe To Pay Online With Bitcoin?
Bitcoin has become a very popular form of payment online. However, some people still have doubts about whether it is safe to pay with bitcoin or not. The issue that many people raise is that there are no regulations in place for protecting the consumer when they use bitcoin as a means of payment.
Many people are using bitcoin to make purchases or transfer money without any hassle of a bank account. While this may seem like an easy way to avoid paying fees on credit card purchases, there are still risks involved with making transactions with bitcoin. One of the main benefits that bitcoin offers over traditional currency is the ability for you to make anonymous transactions; however, if you aren’t careful about how you use your bitcoin wallet, then your anonymity will be lost very quickly!
Online shopping is becoming a more and more popular way to shop for the everyday consumer. While some people prefer not to use their credit cards online, many find it an easy and convenient way to pay for goods purchased on the internet. Unfortunately, this ease of convenience has made online shoppers more vulnerable than ever before to identity theft and fraud.
By understanding the risks and making internet security your main priority, you should be able to make payments safely online.