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How to Safely Use Your Credit Card Online

7 Safe Online Credit Card Shopping Tips

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Your credit card isn't safe anywhere, especially the internet. When you're shopping online, it's important to follow some guidelines to keep your credit card information safe.

Shop only at sites you trust.

A man uses his credit card online
© Select Stock / Vetta / Getty
When you shop with your credit card online, only go to websites that you trust. Avoid clicking on email links because these links could take you to a fake website that's set up for the sole purpose of stealing your credit card information. Instead, go directly to the real website by typing the URL in your internet browser.

Don't make online credit card purchases from a public place.

Public computers and networks are less secure so there's a greater chance that your credit card information can be stolen when you use it on a public computer. These computers could have a keylogger software that will capture all your keystrokes, including your login information and credit card number. Your credit card information can even be stolen when you use your personal laptop on a public wireless network.

Protect your computer from viruses and hackers.

Make sure your computer is protected from hackers that could send your internet browser to a fake website by loading the most recent anti-virus and anti-spyware software onto your computer.

Check with the Better Business Bureau.

If you're using your credit card online at a store you're not familiar with, check the Better Business Bureau for other consumer reports before entering your credit card information. Don't use your credit card at any website that has a poor customer service record with the Better Business Bureau.

Use a credit card online instead of a debit card.

Credit cards offer more protection against fraudulent charges than a debit card. With credit cards, your maximum liability for fraudulent charges is $50. However, with debit card fraud, you could be liable for up to $500. Not only that, if your debit card is compromised, you lose all the money in your checking account and it could take days to get back. Fraudulent credit card charges don't take anything from your pocket.

Make sure the credit card entry page is secure.

Only enter your credit card information on secure websites. You can check a website's security by checking the URL. On the page that you enter your credit card information, the URL in your browser's address bar should begin with "https://" and there should be a lock in the lower right corner.

Print your online credit card receipts.

When you use your credit card online, always print a copy of your receipt or confirmation. Then, compare the amount on your receipt to the amount on your billing statement to make sure the totals match.
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