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How to shop online safely with your credit card

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

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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 issuerEmergency contact details
      American ExpressCall the number on the back of your card
      ANZ13 22 73
      Bankwest1300 765 515
      Bank of Melbourne1800 772 266
      Bank of Queensland1300 55 72 72
      BankSA1800 028 208
      Citi13 24 84
      Commonwealth Bank13 22 21
      HSBC132 152
      NAB13 22 65
      St.George1800 028 208
      Suncorp Bank13 11 75
      Westpac1300 130 961
      Woolworths1300 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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 22 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$59 p.a.
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
$195 p.a.
Receive a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance, plus up to 3 Membership Rewards Points / $1.
BankSA Vertigo
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$55 p.a.
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 18 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase interest rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
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. Ends 2 June 2020.
Bank of Melbourne Amplify Card
19.74% p.a.
$79 p.a.
Earn your choice of uncapped Amplify or Qantas Points, plus enjoy up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$55 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest for up to 18 months on balance transfers. Plus, a low annual fee and competitive purchase rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
St.George Amplify Platinum
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Up to 100,000 bonus Amplify Points (70k in the first year & 30k in the second year) when you spend $6k/year for the first 2 years. Ends 2 June 2020.
St.George Rainbow Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
All the platinum features of the Vertigo Platinum Visa with a rainbow design in support of the LGBT community. Ends 2 June 2020.
St.George Vertigo Platinum
0% for 15 months, reverts to 12.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Features an introductory 0% p.a. purchase rate, $49 first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance covers. Ends 2 June 2020.
St.George Amplify Platinum - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
$99 p.a.
Earn 60,000 bonus Qantas Points, plus enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 6 months and complimentary insurance covers. Ends 2 June 2020.
BankSA 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. Ends 2 June 2020.
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Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Save with a 22-month balance transfer offer. Plus, lounge passes, travel insurance and an annual fee refund when you spend an eligible $6k/year.
St.George Vertigo Classic
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$55 p.a.
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 18 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a low annual fee and purchase rate. Ends 2 June 2020.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$425 p.a.
Earn 120,000 bonus Qantas Points & $275 back when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, airport lounge passes.
Westpac Low Rate Card
2019 Winner
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 16 months
$59 p.a.
A no frills, low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 16 months, with no balance transfer fee.
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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au 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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