How to shop online safely with your credit card

Rates and Fees verified correct on April 2nd, 2015

Safe Internet shopping is very much possible with a good credit card that offers you security and peace of mind. These days we can buy just about anything online and not doing so will often leave you paying too much elsewhere. It is a known fact that online shopping is often cheaper than doing it offline and savvy shoppers know this.

How to shop online safely with a credit card

St.George Vertigo Visa

Online Shopping Card

The St.George Vertigo is a credit card made for shopping, especially shopping online safely. It features a free and secure online shopping service which ensures that all your internet purchases are safe and secure. It also comes with MasterCard SecureCode which uses password protection to validate all your transactions so you will be even more protected against any kind of fraud online.

  • $55 p.a. annual fee
  • 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free

Unfortunately, safe Internet shopping is not always possible, and here is why:

The first problem stems when people don’t treat their credit card with caution, meaning they end up sharing it with friends, family members and kids. But short of sharing your card with third parties you can check whether you are dealing with a reputable online supplier:

  • Is the website authenticated by Thawte Consulting SSL or VeriSign security seal?
  • Are the website owners contact details clearly displayed on the site?
  • Is there an ABN or other business details?
  • Can you see a street address opposed to just a PO Box behind which just about anyone could hide?

What is a Secure Server?

A secure server is when the company uses a payment processing system using the secure SSL layer. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. You can whether this is used if the site uses HTTPS instead of just HTTP on their payment site.

You can also see a padlock in the bottom right hand side of your Internet browser which is a sign that you are browsing a safe site. Your personal information is protected through a complex security code and you can shop with confidence knowing your details are safe.

But, one caution is worth mentioning here. Unless you know their security certificate is current and up-to-date you could still run the risk of being scammed. The best way to circumnavigate this possibility is by always checking if you pay for your goods on a URL that starts with HTTPS. If it does, then you are good to go.

Keep track of your online purchases:

Another way to do safe Internet shopping is by keeping track of your expenses with the help of a special email folder (you’ll be getting an email confirmation for just about anything you buy online,) in a notebook or in a spreadsheet.

You also want to check your monthly credit card statement for any incorrect or suspicious information.

Use common sense when shopping online:

This really should be a given but unfortunately it isn’t for many card holders. Keep your computer updated with a good anti-virus software, make sure your firewall is switched on (Windows has a good one by default,) use spy-ware protection which usually comes with a good anti-virus program and keep your passwords safe from prying eyes.

Don’t ever click on any emails that tell you to update your account (phishing). Instead, visit the site by opening your web browser and type the main domain URL into it then login. Do not type the URL as stipulated in the email, it’s a clear trap.

Don’t send credit card details by email. If you have to, send them in batches.

Verified secure codes with MasterCard and Visa:

Both credit card providers offer you with additional protection when shopping online. Visa allows you to verify your card by means of a password through your bank. Once you buy something on the Internet, a message will pop up asking you to verify your card by inserting your password after telling you that you are dealing with a legit seller.

MasterCard has a similar system in place, but their security is with the help of a 3-digit secure code. It can be found at the back of your MasterCard. Keep them safe.

See what the Australian banks offer to help you shop safely online:

  • Citibank Credit Cards: Citibank uses what they call a Fraudshield to protect their credit card customers. If the bank detects any suspicious transactions, you will be immediately contacted. Fraudshield is used in conjunction with Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
  • ANZ Credit Cards: ANZ uses the ANZ Falcon security system. Your credit card transactions are tracked and if there is anything suspicious, ANZ will contact you immediately. The ANZ Falcon system is used in conjunction with Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
    Commonwealth Bank Credit Cards: Secure Sentinel is the Commonwealth Bank’s security system and is also verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode to protect their cardholders.
  • St.George Bank Credit Cards: The bank contacts customers on regular occasions to make sure their transactions are correct. St.George also uses the Falcon Fraud system. They further offer verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.
  • NAB Credit Cards: The National Australia Bank uses Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode.

Credit Card Security Tips

If you do not take the time and effort to keep your card safe and secure and practise safe online shopping then you can pay sorely for it later. Here are some tips that will help you protect your card while online.

When you use your credit card online, you can leave yourself vulnerable to thieves and other predators. There are things that you can do to protect yourself. Such as:

  • Open e-mails with caution – There are many phishing scams and other online scams that are sent via e-mail. These e-mails will come to you with the hope that you will click on a link that takes you to a site that may look like your credit card site but it is, in fact, a fake. Never click on a link from an e-mail. Go directly to the site for information. These scammers will try and elicit information from these e-mails. Be very wary of e-mails asking for credit card or other personal information.
  • Look over your statement – When you get your monthly statement from your credit card provider, take the time to look over it carefully. If there are any strange charges you should alert your provider immediately. The sooner you let them know, the faster it will be taken care of. When dealing with your credit card provider, the sooner the better is always the safest bet if you notice anything suspicious on your statement.
  • Use reputable sites - Shopping online is incredibly convenient and for the most part, it is also very safe. To ensure the utmost card online security, you should only use sites that are well known and have a good reputation. Using your card on sites that do not have a long history can be a gamble and perhaps not one to take with your card.
  • Look for the logos – When you are on trusted sites, the will usually have the MasterCard Secure logo or the Verified by Visa logo. This will help you to feel better about shopping on sites like these.
  • Have your CVV number ready – For added protection, you may be asked to provide the CVV number that is located on the back of your card. This is further protection from online scammers who may try and use your information without authorisation.

These are just a few steps that you can take to help protect yourself when you are shopping online with your credit card. They are quick and easy tips that will help to make your shopping experience a safe and secure one.

Microchip technology:

Microchip technology adds yet another security layer to credit cards and if you are the owner of such a card, then following the above tips and using common sense will allow you to indulge into safe Internet shopping any time you please.

For more information, read our Guide to Credit Card Fraud, Scams and Traps

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This page was last modified on 20 January 2015 at 17:05.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated April 2nd, 2015
Interest rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Cash advance rate (p.a.)
St.George Vertigo Visa
St.George Vertigo Visa
A low annual fee and low interest rate offer on balance transfers. 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 13.24% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 18 months $55 p.a. 21.49% p.a. Go to site More info
Citibank Rewards Credit Card - Platinum Card
Citibank Rewards Credit Card - Platinum Card
Consolidate your debt with a low balance transfer and a long purchase rate offer plus a host of platinum privileges. Earn up to 1.250 Citibank Reward points for every $1 spend. 20.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 24 months $199 p.a. 21.74% p.a. Go to site More info
St.George Vertigo Platinum
St.George Vertigo Platinum
A platinum card with a low interest rate on balance transfers and purchases with a low annual fee. 0% p.a. for 3 months (reverts to 12.74% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 20 months $99 p.a. 21.49% p.a. Go to site More info
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Take advantage of the 0% p.a. for 14 months balance transfer offer 18.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. 20.99% p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Earn rewards points plus a balance transfer offer. Access to prestige services including a personal concierge service and VISA Platinum reward program. 19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 8 months $0 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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