What you can do to make your credit card more secure while shopping


Our financial information faces many threats, data breaches to fraudulent scams (the last being by Zelle). Even though cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated, there are methods we can use to mitigate these threats and protect our financial dataincluding our credit card numbers.

Shopping online with a credit card is actually a smarter decision than using your debit card. This is because credit card companies offer more protection than most debit cards, not to mention reducing the risk of thieves stealing money from your checking or savings accounts.

Combined with careful shopping and internet awareness, you can use these tools to protect your financial data. Here are some best practices to keep in mind to maximize credit card security and privacy.

If you’re curious about other credit card best practices, find out how choose the right credit card for your needs and our recommendations for the best credit cards this month. Besides, what does it mean to have a good credit rating?

10 ways to protect your credit card data

1. Determine your risk appetite

There’s often a trade-off between security and convenience, so understanding how far you’re willing to go to protect your credit card will help you determine which steps are worth it for you. Maximum security requires a greater time investment on your part, so you’ll need to decide how much effort you’re willing to put into your card security.

If you’re determined to reduce the risk and hassle of fraud – and the time required to remedy it – wherever possible, entering an authorization code for every purchase and setting up custom alerts is your best bet. If you don’t want to authorize every transaction or take the time to regularly review your statements, focus more on the automated services and features offered by your card provider.

2. Regularly review statements and transaction history

Although most credit card issuers won’t hold you responsible for fraudulent charges, you’ll need to pay attention to your spending history in order to catch charges that weren’t made with your permission. We recommend reviewing your credit card activity every three to four days to ensure erroneous charges are identified as soon as possible. If that’s too often for you, we recommend reviewing charges at least twice a month or billing cycle. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have 60 days to alert your card issuer of fraudulent charges. If you see charges beyond this window, your issuer may no longer be able to remove them, making you liable for those purchases. Beyond that, you risk exceeding the time during which the issuer can rectify the situation.

3. Enable purchase notifications and activity alerts

Nothing beats reviewing your credit card activity line by line, but automated notifications come close. Some credit cards allow you to enable notifications and alerts based on your preferences. Wells Fargo, for example, allows users to receive text, email, or app alerts for ATM withdrawals, cash advances, or purchases made above a specified threshold. Although this level of personalization is not standard across all card issuers, a few other banks and card providers offer similar options. Just make sure your contact information is up to date so your bank doesn’t send activity alerts to the wrong cell phone or email address.

4. Take advantage of your credit card’s extra security features

After notifications and alerts, do a little research on the other security features offered by your card. Remote locking and unlocking, for example, allows you to “freeze” your card if you believe it may have been lost or stolen to avoid fraudulent charges. Additionally, many banks now offer additional levels of account login protection, such as Face and Touch ID, to ensure that no one but you accesses your banking app.

5. Examine the security features of your card network

You can look beyond your card issuer or bank to protect your money. Card networks like Mastercard, Visa, and American Express offer additional security features, like Mastercard Secure Code, which asks for a verification code every time you make a purchase, and Visa Secure, which does the same for suspicious transactions .

6. Don’t automatically save credit card information with apps or browsers

Sure, it can be convenient to store your passwords and payment information on your browser, but logging this information across browsers, apps, or websites puts you at greater security risk. Not only are you increasing the number of entities you share this information with, but you are also potentially exposing your information to a stranger if your device is lost or stolen. It’s best to manually enter your credit card information each time.

7. Use virtual card numbers to protect your information from merchants

When shopping online, you can limit the number of access companies have to your data by using “virtual card numbersor other services that protect your merchant data. Capital One, for example, offers virtual card numbers through its app’s virtual assistant, Eno. Every time you make a purchase, the the app will generate a new card number that you give to the merchant, who takes funds from your account but does not reveal your account information.

If your credit card doesn’t offer this feature, consider a third-party virtual card service like Privacy. Just be aware that you’ll need to pass your account information to the app, but that may be a better option than passing it to dozens of online vendors.

8. Consider privacy when choosing a credit card

If data sharing is your primary concern, focus on privacy features when purchasing your next credit card. Apple Card’s privacy policy, for example, states that it “will never share or sell your data to third parties for their marketing or advertising purposes” – a rare commitment in the industry, and one that extends to its banking partner, Goldman Sachs. Other cards may openly share your data with all kinds of companies, including unaffiliated marketers.

9. Take advantage of opt-out options

Some credit card issuers and banks offer ways to opt out of data sharing, through online forms or phone numbers. Card networks like Visa and Mastercard also allow you to limit how much they share your data, as do some stores, like Target. These services are another step in the right direction, but there are usually exemptions that allow them to continue to use and share your data.

10. Use one card for all online purchases

To protect your money and other credit accounts, limit the number of cards you use online. If possible, opt for a single credit card for all of your online purchases, rather than using multiple cards. The real trade-off here is that you won’t be able to earn rewards for every card if shopping online is your primary way to earn points or cash back. We recommend looking for a credit card with cash back to resolve this problem.


How do credit card companies use my data?

Credit card companies primarily use and share your information for marketing and advertising purposes. This allows companies to see what you’re buying and react accordingly, with tactics like showing targeted ads based on your purchase history. Your data is also used for “day to day business purposes”, which generally means financial forecasting, but can include a wide variety of other activities such as product development and sales strategy.

Each credit card company has its own rules and regulations regarding customer data, so it’s important to read and understand your issuer’s disclosure.

What should I do if my credit card information is stolen?

Even if you follow all security precautions, there is always the possibility of thieves gaining access to your credit card. If this happens, you should immediately report the charges to your credit card issuer to report any unauthorized purchases. Be prepared to provide them with personal information, including your legal name, address, and social security number. From there, your card issuer will likely cancel your current card, review and remove the fraudulent charges, and issue you a new card.

We also recommend that you check all other credit accounts to make sure the hackers didn’t gain access to additional payment methods. You can reduce your chances of falling victim to credit card fraud by keeping an eye on your credit card bills, using enhanced security tools, and following basic credit card privacy guidelines. credit.

If someone has my credit card information, can they steal my identity?

Generally speaking, no, but it’s a bit more complicated. Identity theft occurs when a thief steals someone’s personal information and uses it to commit fraud. Credit card information theft is usually a consequence of identity theft.

If a thief only has access to your credit card information, they cannot commit the same level of fraud as someone who commits identity theft. They will be able to accumulate debt on your account and access your home address and credit card account information, but they generally cannot access your login information or other personal information that would allow them to open new accounts in your Name.

Is it safe to give credit card information over the phone?

When you give your credit card number over the phone, you have the same protections as if you entered it online or swiped it in a store. The Fair Credit Billing Act limits your personal liability for fraudulent charges to $50, regardless of how your credit card was used.


About Author

Comments are closed.