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Shop Online with Your Credit Card

Authored By: Community Focus FCU on 7/13/2023

Shopping online with a card

You have payment choices when making purchases online, but what card – credit or debit – do experts recommend?

Go with credit. That’s because credit cards usually come with a variety of consumer benefits that range from protections against fraudulent charges and broken or undelivered goods to things like extended warranties and rental car insurance.

  • With credit cards, you escape some of the financial headaches caused by fraudulent purchases. When disputing credit purchases, the card company will work to resolve the dispute and you won’t be out any money during that process. With debit cards, however, the money comes directly from your checking or savings account and you’ll usually be out that amount until the dispute is resolved.
  • In addition to after-the-fact protections, credit card companies also have built-in safeguards that can recognize unusual activity on your card and block suspected fraudulent purchases.

Beyond credit card fraud protections and other benefits, there are things you can and should do to protect yourself against card misuse.

  • If you have two or more credit cards, use only one for online purchases. That way, if you need to cancel the card due to fraudulent use you’ll still have another card to use.
  • You might consider getting a credit card with a low spending limit to use for online shopping, which can protect you from someone else running up big purchases.
  • Experts also say you should check your account online regularly to look for suspicious transactions and to report them right away. You also should set up text or email alerts to inform you of things such as purchases that exceed certain amounts.
  • Shop only on trusted, secure sites. Look for ‘https’ at the start of the web address and the small lock symbol in the address bar.
  • Either save the email copy or a printed version of your receipts and compare them to the charges that show up on your statement. Let your card provider know if there are any irregularities.

To take full advantage of the protections and features that come with your credit card, be sure to read the fine print on your card’s agreement, and be sure to shop safely and report any problems immediately.

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