The ability to shop online is pretty amazing: with just a few clicks of the mouse, you can order all kinds of merchandise from just about anywhere in the world. You can order what you need on any device that has an Internet connection, at any time of the day—even in the middle of the night while you’re in your PJs. Another great thing about shopping online is that it can give you the opportunity to find an item that otherwise might have been impossible to find, and it can also make it easy to compare prices from different retailers and find the best deal out there. And shopping online means no driving, no sitting in traffic, and no dealing with crowds.
The dangers of shopping online
While there is no denying that shopping online can be incredibly convenient, it also isn’t always as safe as shopping in an actual store. After all, when you shop online, you’re usually forced to use a debit card or credit card. Hackers can obtain this sensitive information, and security breaches do occur. If someone does get a hold of your information, they can make unauthorized charges that you might not even know about until the damage is done. You may be able to dispute these charges, but depending on what information was stolen from you and how many purchases were made, certain transactions might be irreversible.
Fraudulent bank account activity
Many online shoppers won’t think twice about using their debit card to shop online, especially if they don’t have a traditional credit card. Whether they don’t want to open up a credit card because they worry about getting into debt, or they simply don’t qualify for a traditional credit card, using a debit card is often their only option. While shopping online with a credit card poses its own risks, using your debit card—a card that is linked directly to your bank account—can be much riskier. Once that money is gone, it can be difficult or impossible to recover, and that’s why it’s important to keep your bank account information safe when shopping online. Additionally, more and more online retailers are giving customers the option to pay for their purchases with their PayPal account. Although this is a convenient option, it can also be risky if your PayPal account is linked to your checking account.
The option that can protect your finances
It may seem like there is always some risk involved when it comes to shopping online, but one way to ensure your financial information will always be kept safe is to use a prepaid card. Prepaid cards are very similar to traditional credit cards: they can be used anywhere major credit cards are accepted, but they don’t involve a credit line and you aren’t borrowing anything. They also aren’t linked to your checking account. Instead, you load money onto the card, and the amount of money you load becomes your available “credit.” Because you already preloaded money onto the card, you are spending money that is already yours and there is no need to pay it back.
Prepaid cards can make online shopping a breeze, and not to mention, completely safe. If you know you’re about to make a purchase online, you can preload your card in advance for the exact amount you know you’ll be spending. If your credit card information is compromised, a hacker won’t get very far because your prepaid card won’t have much (or any) money remaining on it.
Learn more about the Visa® prepaid cards that we offer, and open one today by visiting our prepaid cards page.
Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.