As online shopping grows in popularity, so do the risks of credit card and banking fraud. It is a scary thought to think that many merchants around the world actually have access to your credit card or bank account information and should it fall into the wrong hands, you could be in for a lot of fraudulent debt. So how do you indulge in shopping safely online?
Merchants and banks have come up with a few ways to help you keep safe when shopping online.
The Online Payment Gateway
This ‘middle-man’ website acts as the ‘gatekeeper’ of your payment information. It works in tandem with the merchant and credit card issuer to ensure you are charged, the merchant is paid and yet your credit card information does not pass to the merchant (or anyone else beyond the ‘gatekeeper’) in the process.
PayPal – PayPal is accepted by most if not all sellers on ebay.com, most online stores and Etsy sellers. The gateway protects not only the buyer but also the seller; ensuring payment is made and received. Just register for an account (free to use if you are paying but fees are levied for sellers receiving money) with your credit or debit card information. This information only needs to be entered once and after which, you use your email and password to make payment with sellers and online stores that accept PayPal. Payment is processed instantaneously and both you and the seller should receive confirmation within minutes. If you don’t want to use your credit or debit card, you can top up your PayPal account through online banking but the service is only available to RHB account holders. Your credit card information is stored in PayPal’s database but even on your display, numbers are protected and transactions encrypted for safety.
WorldPay – WorldPay works in a similar way as Paypal but does not offer the convenience of an account where your card information is stored for repeat use or instant processing. Merchants who accept WorldPay (non-Malaysian as WorldPay does not support Malaysian merchants) will have a button which upon clicking will lead you to WorldPay’s secure payment form. You enter your credit card details and it is sent to your card issuer for processing. Unlike PayPal, this could take up to 5 days to process and appear on the merchant’s account.
IPay88 – Merchants in South East Asia sign up to use IPay88 to process payment for them in much the same way and WorldPay. Upon choosing your purchases, you will be led to IPay88’s secure payment site to enter your payment information. IPay88 is a popular choice as it not only accepts all credit and debit cards, it also accepts payment through online banking portals like Maybank2u, CIMBClicks, RHB Connect, MEPS Cash and slew of others.
The Enhanced Security Feature
If the merchant refuses to accept any of the online payment gateways above (due to the fees levied or for whatever reason), stay safe by using your card issuer’s Enhanced Security Feature. Sign your card up for either Verified by Visa and SecureCode by MasterCard depending on card type and receive a secure PIN number or password which will be required for every transaction. This ensures that no one will be able to make a payment with your credit card without this PIN or password.
In fact, you can sign up for this feature even if you are using an online payment gateway as an added precaution. Just ensure you remember your password or PIN as entering 3 wrong answers will have you card barred.
Most banks now offer SMS notifications for online transactions using credit cards. If it is not automatically given to you, make sure you call your bank to sign up. This ensures that every time your card is used for an online purchase, you are notified. Should any suspicious activity crop up, you will be able to call your bank immediately to rectify.
Online shopping can be risky; but keeping your transactions safe online has actually become a business in itself so take advantage of the options and keep your confidential bank information, confidential. If you would like to start shopping online but don't have a credit card? Check RinggitPlus.com's credit card comparison table to pick out a card for you.