How to protect your credit card this festive season

Bells will not jingle if there aren’t enough presents and gifts. The best way to get the gifts and also get a free delivery is via online shopping. Last time we talked about how to protect your online shopping, we’ll dig dipper into the detail of how to protect your credit card.

You have probably heard about data breaches that have affected enterprises this year. Hackers might also be planning something in this festive period. Read on, and you’ll learn how to keep your credit cards safe. Safety means bells will jingle all the way and you will avoid getting more than the intended.

Use your credit card’s extra layer of security

Many if not almost all major credit cards have an additional layer of protection and by default, it’s not enabled. This extra layer of security can be thought in ways of how two-factor authentication works. Most common credit cards with this extra security layers are MasterCard and Visa. Mastercard uses a secure code which is a one-time code that you are required to enter every time you are about to make a transaction on supported sites. In Visa, you get verified, a safeguard mechanism that uses a passcode to confirm you’re the one making a transaction. Additionally, Mastercard and visa offer zero liability for unauthorized transactions. If your credit cards don’t have an extra layer of security, check if the bank has extra security mechanisms to your card use every time a transaction is done.  Most banks may offer a one-time pin or code to your linked phone to confirm the transaction. Other may send you a message after a transaction has been done using your card. You may then contact them afterward if it wasn’t you who did/authorize the transaction.

Have an online transactions’ only dedicated card

To avoid your account being compromised and losing almost all your funds, consider opening another account and getting a card for it, this account will be purposely for online transactions such as online shopping. So, if it gets compromised, you don’t lose everything. You can also set limits on this account, i.e., set the amount of funds for a particular purchase. This is also useful especially if your kids have access to your credit cards and you are worried he/she might overspend in this festive season.

Use virtual credit cards

Virtual credit cards are widely used in the smartphone real especially with mobile wallets such as Apple pay or Android pay. Virtual credit cards are mechanisms in which a virtual credit account number is used instead of your real number. Sometimes tokens are used alongside with the virtual numbers. Virtual credits cards act like your second account, the one we mentioned earlier. Ideally, virtually credit cards are linked to your real card and are set to be used once. They also have an expiry date and a set expenditure limit. So, if an online transaction gets compromised, hackers only get this temporary number, and it may not be of help at all.

 A lot of banks are going digital, and they are generating virtual credit card numbers for their customers, inquire if yours does that to be safe. Additionally, you can use other payment systems that have access to your cards. Systems like Amazon Pay, Visa Checkout, PayPal and MasterCard Master pass offer an additional layer of protection when you are doing an online transaction. It’s hard for attackers to attack these services.

You can also check on reputable third-party options which offer virtual numbers. A simple solution is shifting into the cryptocurrency world as most enterprises are now integrating the digital currency into their systems.

Always check your statements

Financial statements are mechanisms that help you keep an eye on all of your transactions of a certain period. Although banks have systems designed to monitor and detect unauthorized transactions and fraudulent activities, sometimes the system may pass other activities, but they are fraudulent to you. You will only know this via statements; you will definitely know when you didn’t perform a transaction. You may then call your bank for a way forward.

There’s also a new trend in which you can inform the bank to geo-block some transactions. i.e., if you live in Canada and a transaction is done in Australia using your card, the bank may block the transaction if it isn’t you.

Set the correct browser settings

Browsers are doors to the internet, and we use them to do everything on the internet from simple surfing to downloading stuff. At most times, many browsing activities require the use of passwords and usernames. To avoid the hectic cramming of passwords, browsers introduced a lifesaver known as autocomplete/autofill. This lifesaver can at times cost you if your security gets compromised. You can turn off this feature or constantly click not allow every time you enter your info or even credit card numbers.

To turn this feature off in most browsers, go to settings/preferences. You may then look for the feature in the advanced section or privacy tab depending on your browser.

Always be careful

Anytime you want to use your credit card, or you want to key in your credit card details ensure you are not the threat or vulnerability or you are not promoting both. In many data breaches, security analysts have found out that end users are the real vulnerability. How can you be a vulnerability? Take an example of where you use your card. Is the site reputable? What are people saying about it? Most of the time you might end up giving your credit card details freely.

To reduce your chances of being a vulnerability, always use a VPN. A VPN offers security and may also provide privacy at the same time. i.e., if you might be tempted to perform a transaction on a public WIFI, ensure your VPN is on to avoid eavesdropping and spoofing attempts. Also, when in public, get a secure private place before you keying in your credit card details for instance on your computer screen or your smartphone.

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