As we are very quickly approaching the festive season, now is usually the time where we start to think about what on earth we are going to buy everyone for Christmas this year.
A large majority of people nowadays resort to online shopping in an effort to avoid the often manic shopping centers during the Christmas period. If you are one of the many Australian’s who have contributed to the $15.9 billion spent on online shopping in the last 12 months, it’s very important that you take some time to consider online shopping security to protect yourself against fraud this Christmas.
PayPal vs Credit Card
As two of the most commonly used methods for completing online transactions, PayPal and credit cards both have their pluses and minuses when it comes to protecting you against fraud.
In Australia, PayPal has over 5.5 million active consumer accounts used to purchase goods and services online. With PayPal, you create an account containing your bank account or credit card details so you are not required to provide them every time you make a purchase online.
Most online stores now offer PayPal as a payment method so your transaction actually occurs within PayPal rather than through the website itself, adding an extra security measure as your financial information is not shared. It also has the added benefit that if you do not have a credit card, you can use your bank account to complete your transactions.
Millions of people around the world also use their credit cards to shop online. There are many reasons why people opt to use their credit card, one being the many rewards programs now on offer by retailers and financial institutions.
Banks have tightened their protection when using credit cards, including fraud detection systems which monitor any abnormal spending patterns and refunding any fraudulent transactions on your card if they should occur.
Both methods implement stringent measures to protect against fraud but of course, they are not always fail proof.
Smart Shopping Online
There are a number of ways in which you can protect yourself against fraud when shopping online.
It important to be smart about the whole online shopping process. This includes researching who exactly you are dealing with, knowing the product or service you are purchasing and ensuring that your financial information is being dealt with securely.
Stay Smart Online has developed a list of tips you can follow to ensure your online shopping experience is a pleasant one. These include:
- Be wary if the website looks suspicious or unprofessional or makes unrealistic promises
- Know what you are buying e.g. thoroughly read the product description, size, colour, value and safety information of the product
- Read all of the fine print
- Check the currency, postage and handling and other charges
- Use a secure payment method such as PayPal, BPay or your credit card – never send your bank or credit card details via email
- Always print and keep a copy of the transaction
Whether you are using PayPal or a credit card, it is also recommended that you regularly monitor your account activity so you can identify any fraudulent charges that may be made and counteract them quickly. When making your online purchases, it also pays to only do so from secure internet connections. Avoid making transactions on public computers or free/open wi-fi connections.