Are you afraid of online transactions?

Today I got a call from a friend of mine, he was thinking of taking his business online, which meant using his credit card online to purchase hosting and various other things. However having heard horror stories of online credit card fraud he was obviously a bit apprehensive of using his credit card online and wanted to consult with me since I have been using my credit card online for ages and haven’t yet encountered any problems.

So I gave him a bit of advice regarding online transactions and thought why not share this with others as well. So here it goes:

First thing to do before doing any transaction online is to ensure that your computer is fit for online transactions, yes that’s right your own computer! This is due to the fact that many a times the leak happens not due to lack of security at the merchant level but due to a compromised computer at the consumer’s end. So make sure you never ever use a cyber café computer to do any transactions!

What you should be looking for is to keep your computer safe from Trojan horses, viruses, spywares and adwares, and also ensuring you have some sort of keylogger protection.

Easiest way to do this is to ensure you have a decent virus scanner and a firewall which is updated regularly and you have at least some sort of protection against spyware. For this you can install one of many spyware removers available in the market. This should ensure at least basic security measures are taken care of at you end and your computer is relatively secured.

Next step is choosing the right browser for online transactions, while Internet Explorer supports SSL etc. I prefer to use Firefox for my online transactions, simply because I feel firefox is a safer browser (

Now that things are taken care of at your end, you can concentrate on the merchant you would be dealing with. First thing you need to ensure is that you give out credit card details to only those sites which are of some what good repute and have been in the business for a while. Even when dealing with these sites ensure that you only fill out credit card details on pages which are encrypted. When you are viewing an encrypted page, this icon Padlock icon would be visible along side the sites address in the address bar. This ensures that the transmission of data would be protected and it would be tough for hackers to get hold of your credit card details.

Also do remember that credit cards have credit shield, which means in case there is an unauthorized transaction on your credit card you can dispute it and most often than not it will be taken care of by your credit card company.

You can also sign up for instant alerts with the credit card company which would notify you via sms/emails when ever a transaction is made on your card, that way you don’t have to wait for the statement to arrive to find out some thing is wrong. And remember online transactions in general are more secure than the offline ones, where you have to hand over your card to a person who may note down its details while you are not looking!


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