Source: Negative Space
As technology continues to develop, we keep on seeing processes that we used to perform physically find new ways to be performed digitally. Reading books, writing documents, and communicating with people are all examples of activities that we can now perform faster and often more efficiently, because of new technology. Online transactions are no exception; using the internet to make online payments tends to be a more convenient process, but it is also important to consider the risks associated with sharing your information online.
The main risk associated with online payments is the possibility of having your personal and/or card details stolen and abused. It is a lot easier for your personal details to be stolen digitally, especially if the websites being provided with those details are not secure enough. In 2014, North America was the continent most affected by data breaches, accounting for 76% of the total breaches that year, globally. In order to protect yourself from fraudulence, there are a number of steps that you can take before finalising any online transactions.
- Use secure online payment services.
This method is a useful alternative because it does not require you to input your payment details directly onto the website you are transacting from. An online payment service such as PayPal stores your payment details and does not share these details with vendors. In order to complete a transaction via an online payment service, all that you need to do is log in to your account and confirm the payment. This method is more secure because all of your details are handled by authorized payment sites, thereby preventing you from having to share these details directly with websites and vendors you may be unfamiliar with. As well as being secure, this method is more convenient because it allows you to complete transactions quicker. Casino website Betway, for instance, allows users to deposit instalments via a number of online payment services, such as PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. The latter two are virtual web wallets that allow you to deposit and withdraw money at any point, as well as transfer funds directly to the casino.
- Ensure that the link you are using is secure.
One of the ways you can reassure yourself that you are using a secure website is to only use reputable websites and brands. Websites like Amazon or eBay use advanced software that allows them to detect suspicious activity under your account, making them less likely to be targeted by fraudsters. You can also determine the security level of a site by checking to see if it has an SSL certificate. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is digital proof that there is a secure link between a website and the client. This is because information transmitted via this link, such as payment details and personal data, is encrypted, which makes it inaccessible to potential fraudsters. Websites that have an SSL certificate will have a padlock symbol in the browser window, and their URL will begin with ‘https://’. For instance, clothing brand H&M has an online website with an SSL certificate, therefore, there is an extra layer of security when shopping from their online store.
- Use securecards.
Cards, such as MasterCard and VISA, come with services that enhance the protection of your payment details. These services require the client to enter a password before finalising a transaction. Therefore, similarly to online payment services, in order for fraudsters to abuse your payment details, they would need access to your password as well, rather than just your payment details. The disadvantage of this option is that not all websites are partnered with these services, but because this step offers another layer of security, it might be worth considering using the ones that do. Often retail sites associated with official institutions, like universities, will be partnered with services like MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa. LeedsTickets, a site that sells tickets to Leeds University events, requires users to input their password before confirming their purchase via the services mentioned above.
Before completing an online transaction, be sure to assess the security of the website you are purchasing from. Additionally, you can also opt to use payment services that will act as an intermediary between yourself and vendors, thereby protecting your payment details. However, be aware that online security is never 100% guaranteed. Therefore, always be careful when you partake in online transactions.