From paying bills to online shopping to in-app purchases and everything in between, every transaction puts us at risk of having our banking information stolen. There are some basic safety steps that can be taken, like making sure a website uses secure encryption — which is identified with a padlock icon in the address bar — and making sure all of your passwords are strong and not reused on different websites.
So, what are the most secure online payment methods to keep us and our money safe? Here are four of the best options:
Credit and debit cards slowly but surely seem to be replacing cash in our daily lives. More and more people rely on their credit cards to make daily purchases in person and online. Depending on the protections offered by your bank, using a credit card for online payments may be one of the safest options. Using a credit card allows you to avoid having the money drawn directly from your bank account, giving you time to dispute any fraudulent charges that may appear provided you are consistently monitoring your statements of course! In addition, most banks and credit card companies are well-established and have taken the time to develop strong fraud protection policies.
Debit cards are directly tied to your bank account and the money is taken out immediately. This is a risk, however, because debit cards are tied to a bank, most are covered with 24-hour fraud surveillance and they will often know that a fraudulent charge has been made and prevent it without you having to take any action. Though we’re focused on online payments, debit cards are also secure for in-person payments as the recent addition of an EMV chip in most cards adds an extra layer of protection.
PayPal is one of the original online payment options and remains one of the most popular and most secure. Early on, PayPal was made the default way to make purchases on eBay and it grew from there. As financial journalist Tim Parker argues, “PayPal’s business model is based on enabling safe transactions between buyers and sellers.” Basically, being secure and being known for being secure is how PayPal has survived and remained popular.
PayPal has diversified and now offers multiple options for paying while keeping your money and data safe. The PayPal app works for payments to retailers, Venmo and Xoom are for person-to-person payments, and the PayPal cash card is a debit card for online and in store purchases. All of these options are protected by the same security measures and are safe ways to make payments.
Mobile wallets are the hot, new, secure way to pay. They are a convenient replacement for physical payment methods and only require a smartphone and an app to work. There are many options depending on what works best for you. The three most popular are Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Since information uploaded to mobile wallets is encrypted, they are secure. The option to use two-step authentication adds an extra layer of protection.
Mobile wallets are a good choice for using in places like online casinos. Probably the biggest difference between regular mobile games and live casino games is that the second one has the potential to provide a payout. Having a mobile wallet linked to your online casino account allows these payouts, or the purchase of more plays or tokens, to be done efficiently and often without extra fees.
Many people think of gift cards as the go-to present for someone they don’t know very well, but gift cards, also known as prepaid cards, are also a great way to protect your funds when making online purchases. The biggest positive of using gift cards is that they are not tied to your personal bank account and only the amount on the card can be stolen. This can be a particularly good option if it is necessary to make a purchase on a website that you do not completely trust.
Staying safe online is an important skill set that we all need to master these days. Keeping your personal information secured is the first step towards making safe online purchases. After that, its important to choose a payment option that is secure. Thankfully, as this list has shown, there are many secure options.
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