laughing_couple_laptop_Shutterstock

How to shop online safely with your credit card

10 ways to protect your finances when using your credit card to shop online

Using your credit card for online shopping is a convenient and (usually) safe way to make purchases online. While the majority of online shopping goes off without a hitch, credit card fraud and cybercrime does exist. Use this guide for 10 tips on how to shop online safely to help protect your finances.

How to shop online safely with your credit card in 10 tips

Shop with peace of mind, understand what to look out for and who to contact if your card is used for a fraudulent transaction with these 10 tips for shopping safely online.

    1. Make sure you’re using a secure server.

      You should only provide your credit card details if the website is using a SSL payment processing system. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a method of encrypting your information that websites use when they’re communicating with your credit card issuer. You can check a website has this by looking at the website’s URL. It should read ‘HTTPS’ rather than ‘HTTP’ and should see a padlock icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your Internet browser.

    2. Input the address of the website rather than searching for it.

      Manually enter the website URL if you know it from experience. This reduces the chance of clicking a fraudulent link and ending up on a dodgy website. Phishing is a common scam where thieves get you to open emails by pretending to represent a trusted institution such as a telecommunications provider.

    3. Ensure the legitimacy of the website before making a purchase.

      There are so many merchants selling all types of goods and services, it’s difficult to tell the good from the bad. Fraudsters use deviant tactics to get your personal and financial details.

      Using a site with an established reputation for online commerce such as Amazon reduces the risk of fraud. If you’re unsure about whether to trust a website with your credit card details, look for the webmaster’s contact information and business details. Website owners can list their information as a trust signal to customers.

    4. Don’t give out your credit card details online or store them on your computer.

      Don’t use public computers at computer cafes or libraries for online shopping. Internet browsers often save your personal and financial information by default, so it’s always best to use a personal device. With this in mind, you still shouldn’t store your credit card details on your personal computer, smartphone or tablet. Thieves and hackers can easily get at your personal information if they access your machine using malicious software, for example. If you can, try to memorise your details rather than writing them down anywhere.
      new couple with credit card and tablet

    5. Connect your credit card to PayPal.

      Many online merchants accept PayPal and it’s an alternative to entering your credit card details each time you make an online payment. You can credit your PayPal account with funds by transferring money from your bank account or linking it with an eligible debit or credit card. Thieves can only access the money you’ve credited to your PayPal account, which mitigates any potential losses if you’re the victim of fraud.

      As well as buyer’s protection, which ensures you get what you pay for, PayPal monitors your account to prevent identity theft and unauthorised transactions.

    6. File and keep track of your online payment receipts.

      Create a special email inbox or folder on your device to store confirmation emails for online purchases. You may need to provide proof of purchase for items if you make a claim for an unauthorised transaction, so it’s wise to have these stored in one place to save you time in the future.

    7. Regularly check your credit card statement.

      Review your credit card statement on a regular basis so you can identify any fraudulent charges. You can either review it when you receive your bill each month or you can view your account activity in real time through online banking. If you do this, you’ll have a higher chance of spotting fraudulent transactions or incorrect charges on your account. If you do spot any errors in your account, you should contact your card issuer immediately.

    8. Notify your card issuer immediately if you notice an error.

      Contact your credit card issuer immediately if you discover unauthorised transactions. It can take weeks or months for a credit card issuer to investigate these cases and return the funds to you. So, the sooner you report it, the sooner you’ll receive your refund. If you’re the victim of a scam, notify the proper agency so they know about the illegal activity.

      Credit card issuer Emergency contact details
      American Express Call the number on the back of your card
      ANZ 13 22 73
      Bankwest 1300 765 515
      Bank of Melbourne 1800 772 266
      Bank of Queensland 1300 55 72 72
      BankSA 1800 028 208
      Citi 13 24 84
      Commonwealth Bank 13 22 21
      HSBC 132 152
      NAB 13 22 65
      St.George 1800 028 208
      Suncorp Bank 13 11 75
      Westpac 1300 130 961
      Woolworths 1300 10 1234
    9. Take advantage of your bank’s purchase and online security covers.

      Verified by Visa and Mastercard SecureCode are complimentary layers of security that protect your account details when you’re shopping online. Both security services require you to enter an SMS code to complete an online purchase.

      Visa and Mastercard also operate no liability fraud guarantees. So, if you’re the victim of credit card fraud, the card scheme will give you a full refund provided you didn’t contribute to the loss.

    10. Dispute any fraudulent transactions.

      If you have found unauthorised transactions using your credit card, you’ll need to contact your credit card issuer to dispute the transaction. Before you make the dispute, double check the product disclosure statement to confirm that you have been incorrectly charged and collect any relevant receipts or documents that could help your case.

Online shopping is only growing in popularity, so luckily this means that security procedures designed to protect online purchases are also advancing. However, there are still some steps you should take each time you make an online purchase. While victims of fraud or incorrect charges are entitled to a refund, taking the time to make sure the site you’re using is secure beforehand will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.

Compare credit cards with fraud protection guarantee

Rates last updated July 17th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$58 p.a.
Save with a 0% p.a. introductory rate on balance transfers for 15 months with no BT fee. Plus a low 12.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30 p.a.
Get up to 18 months interest-free on balance transfers and save with a low $30 annual fee. Plus, up to 44 days interest-free on purchases.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$59 p.a.
A low rate card offering 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months and a competitive purchase rate.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$195 p.a.
Receive a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance, plus 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle
20.24% p.a. (AMEX)

20.49% p.a. (Visa/MC)

$199 p.a.
Collect up to 75,000 bonus Altitude Points when you meet T&Cs with Mastercard (issued by Westpac) & Amex (issued by Amex).
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 14 months
$49 p.a.
Get a $49 annual fee, 10% cashback on purchases made in the first 3 months (capped at $100) and a 14-month balance transfer.
Westpac Low Fee Platinum Card
0% for 9 months, reverts to 20.09% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($90 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a $0 first year annual fee and a 0% p.a. interest rate for 9 months on purchases with platinum perks.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 75,000 bonus Velocity Points and save with a $64 first year annual fee. Plus, a long-term balance transfer offer.
Westpac Altitude Black - Velocity
20.49% p.a.
$300 p.a.
Collect 80,000 bonus Velocity Points when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, complimentary seat upgrades and lounge passes.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Offers 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in 90 days, plus, 2 Qantas lounge passes per year and a discounted first year annual fee.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Annual Fee Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$50 p.a.
Save with an ongoing $50 annual fee and 0% balance transfer offer. Plus, the ability to earn up to 30,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months.
Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Earn reward Points per $1 spent, take advantage of a 0% p.a. for 26 month balance transfer offer, plus $0 first year annual fee.
BankSA Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 16 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$179 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($279 p.a. thereafter)
Get 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $4,000 in 90 days and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$99 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn up to 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$55 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 16 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate.
Westpac Altitude Black - Qantas
20.49% p.a.
$300 p.a.
Earn 80,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement. Plus, 2 yearly Qantas Club lounge invitations.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$99 p.a.
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $2,000 within 90 days and earn 0.5 Qantas points per $1 spent.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Features a long-term 0% balance transfer offer, $49 first year annual fee and access to a 24/7 personal concierge service.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pictures: Shutterstock

Back to top
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site