Should I Store Credit Card Information Online?

Should I Store Credit Card Information Online?

Nearly everyone has shopped online at some point in time. While many people are concerned about their credit card information being stolen, the majority of people place orders online all the time and never think twice about the security of their credit card information.

It is also a common practice for websites to offer to store your credit card information for you to use at a later date. Below we'll offer some fraud-fighting tips to help prevent your credit card from being stolen while shopping online as well as information on how safe it is to store your credit card with different merchants.

First make sure the page is secure

Anytime you submit sensitive information online, such as your social security number or credit card number, make sure the website starts with "https" instead of "http". The "s" stands for "secure" and means the page you are on is encrypting the data submitted on it. This is the first step in helping ensure your information is transferred from your computer to the company's server without being compromised. You can also click on the green "lock" or other icon that appears in your browser to further confirm that you are connected to a secure website with a trusted connection.

Know who you're giving your credit card information to

When you shop on a large website like Amazon or BestBuy, you know they have employees dedicated to ensuring their website and checkout is secure. But when you shop with smaller businesses, you may not know how secure their website really is or where they are storing your credit card information.

In September 2006, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard was put in place, which means any business, large or small, has to take certain precautions when accepting credit cards and storing credit card information. It can be costly to ensure full PCI compliance, so many small businesses rely on larger credit card processing companies to power the connection between their website and the payment processor. This means that even when shopping with a small business, you can feel confident that there are security measures they have to take by law to accept your credit card.

Is It safe to store my credit card online?

Many websites not only accept credit cards, but also ask if you want to store your credit card online for future purchases. There are definitely pros and cons to doing this, which can help you make an informed decision on whether to store your credit card information online:

Pros:

  • When you store your credit card online, you aren't constantly transferring your card's information via the internet which many argue is safer than continually typing in your credit card number.
  • Similarly, if you store your credit card information online, you aren't entering your credit card information into your computer which if you have a virus could capture your computer keystrokes and thus transfer your credit card number to hackers.
  • It is often more convenient to store your credit card information online.

Cons:

  • You don't necessarily know where your credit card is being stored, however there is a good chance it is stored in the same place whether you choose to store it or simply place a single order. Either way the company has your credit card number.
  • Some companies do delete credit card numbers after an order is complete, so if their server was ever hacked, your card number may not be in there.
  • If you are not financially responsible, you might end up spending far more money online shopping when you store your credit card online!

Overall, it is generally safe to store your credit card information online as long as you take some simple precautions. A great deal of time, money and resources go into making sure credit card transactions online are secure, so shop with confidence as long as you take these steps to ensure your credit card's security. In the event that your account ever is compromised, remember most credit cards today offer full fraud protection so immediately call the number on the back of your card to report the incident.

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