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Shopping Online? Don't Store Your Credit Card Information

 Most of your favorite shopping sites will allow you to store credit card information in order to speed up the checkout process.  Online retailers know this added feature not only saves customers time, but it also helps move a lot more "browsers" to actual buyers.  It's a win-win for merchants.

Unfortunately, the problem for consumers is that storing your credit card information on a retailer's servers leaves your personal credit card data at risk.  How much risk?  Well, here's a scary statistic for you.

According to a recent Verizon study, 79% of merchants fall out of compliance with PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards between their annual audits.  If you've never heard of PCI compliance before, PCI standards were created in 2006 to increase controls around cardholder data and protect consumers from credit card fraud.

Essentially, what Verizon is telling us is about 8 out of 10 retailers aren't protecting your credit card information as they should, which means it's never a good idea to trust your personal credit card information with a business.  The odds just aren't in your favor. So, as you hit the web with your favorite 0% interest credit card in hand to snag the best deals this holiday season, keep the following 3 tips in mind to help protect your credit card information and your bank accounts.

3 Tips for Online Shopping Safety

  1. Use credit cards instead of debit cards.  Credit cards simply offer much more protection from identity theft than debit cards.  In fact, in most cases of fraud you will have zero liability for unauthorized purchases.
  2. It'll take a bit longer to check out, but enter your credit card information each time you make a purchase instead of storing your information on servers that may not be in compliance with PCI security standards.
  3. Only make purchases from sites that offer secure shopping.  You can tell if a site is secure by looking at the URL. Secure sites start with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// and they should also have a small lock icon in the address bar of your web browser.


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Elisabeth Chan's picture

Elisabeth Chan is Creditnet's resident credit card expert. Elisabeth graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business.

When she's not rating and reviewing credit cards, Elisabeth enjoys gushing over her daughter (who is her exact clone), eating out (sushi and Chinese are favs), or attempting to conquer the pilates reformer machine (so far, all attempts have been futile).

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Seattle Homes's picture

That was helpful information. Identity theft is rampant and often seems like a "face-less" crime. Technology has outpaced the law. Further, adequate regulation is often too difficult of expensive. As a result, consumers are the ones who pay. Even if identity thieves are caught, the victim spends years trying to undo the damage.