Four Tactics to Ensure Credit Card Safety Online

Four Tactics to Ensure Credit Card Safety Online

With all of the variety, bargain prices and unique items available, shopping online can be fun. But if your credit card number gets stolen, it can ruin your fun and create a variety of problems for you. That is why it is important to take some precautions.

Using your credit card for online purchases is easy and convenient. But with that convenience also comes a price. There is always a chance of your credit card number getting stolen or compromised. But you can take several precautions to help keep your personal information private and prevent fraudulent charges made to your account that you may be responsible paying for.

Use a Disposable Number
One of the new trends in the credit card industry is to use a “dummie” number, or a disposable number. There are a couple ways to get a disposable number. One way is to purchase a disposable credit card. These cards work like gift cards and you can add money to them using your actual credit card account. When you use a disposable credit card, you don’t have to worry as much about your number getting stolen because you can’t purchase more than what is on the card. For instance, if you only have $100 available on the card and you make a $100 purchase, the card is unusable again until you add more money to it.

Some credit card companies are also offering “dummie” numbers. These look like actual account numbers but they are only good for a single use. If someone tries to make a second purchase with this one-time number, the purchase will not go through. The only drawback to this is that it makes it difficult to dispute or return a purchase using this method, but it’s great for protecting your account from fraudulent purchases.

Shop from Home
If you are shopping online from a public wifi hotspot, the person next to you or in the same area as you can sometimes see what you are doing. These hotspots are not very secure and a person with basic knowledge about hacking can get your personal information and even get into the stuff you have on your computer. When you are going to shop online, always do it from home where it is much less likely for someone to tap into your signal and get access to your credit card account and other personal information.

Look for the Security Code
When you shop online, only use websites that have a SSL, or secure socket layer. You can tell if the website this added security feature by the address in the address bar. It will start with “https” instead of simply “http.”

Use a Good Antivirus Program
A good antivirus program will help keep your computer free of malware, viruses and software programs that will log each keystroke that you make. Keylogging software is one of the main ways that people get your personal information because they can get a log of everything that you are typing. Invest in a high quality and reputable antivirus program to protect yourself when shopping online.

Even though most credit card companies do not hold you liable for all of the costs when your card is used fraudulently, it can be a big hassle to straighten out the mess. While nothing is completely foolproof when using your credit card safely online, you can take some precautions to protect yourself.

Find the best credit card for your needs.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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Do Not Make These Costly Mistakes with Your Credit Cards

Do Not Make These Costly Mistakes with Your Credit Cards

Credit cards can either be good or bad depending on how you use them. Here are some ways to ensure that they will be advantageous to you.

When used correctly, credit cards can provide a variety of benefits. Some of these benefits include convenience, rewards and security. Unfortunately, many people do not use their credit cards responsibly and it ends up costing them dearly. If you want your credit cards to be advantageous to you rather than a burden, here are some common mistakes that you should avoid.

Closing Accounts too Quickly
Part of your overall credit score is determined by how much credit that you have available to you. When you close one or several of your credit accounts, it’s going to impact your credit score negatively. This is going to a disadvantage if you plan on financing a mortgage, a car or some other large purchase in the near future. Instead of closing the accounts, simply cut up the cards so you can’t use them. You’ll still have the credit available to you on paper, but you won’t be able to use the card to charge stuff on it.

Only Paying the Minimum Each Month
This is possibly one of the most common mistakes people make with credit cards. If you are only paying the minimum, it is going to take years to pay off your cards. Here’s an example: You have a card with a balance of $10,000 on it. At a conservative interest rate of 10 percent with a minimum payment of 2 percent, you will pay $200 each month on the card. At this rate, it will take you more than three decades to pay off the card. That’s like a mortgage! In addition to that, you’ll be paying about $25,000 overall by the time the card is paid off.

Paying for Prepaid Credit Cards
With all of the competition and choices out there on the market these days, there is simply no reason to pay high monthly rates for a prepaid credit card. Most cards charge a fee, but they also give you options for avoiding the fees, such as waiving the monthly charge if you have a direct deposit put onto your card at least once a month. If the prepaid card that you are considering or if you already have one that charges a high monthly fee, look for another one and save money.

Carrying a Balance on a Rewards Card
Many credit card companies these days offer a variety of rewards to entice you to choose their card. These rewards can come in the form of cash back on purchases, point or even airline miles. But in order to be able to offer these rewards, the company has to charger interest rates that are higher than other cards. As a result, carrying a balance on your rewards cards can be a costly mistake. Pay off your rewards cards each month or the benefits that they offer will be far outweighed by the higher interest rate that you’ll be charged.

If you are going to use credit cards, it is best to use them to your advantage. By avoiding these costly mistakes described above, you can reap the benefits that credit cards have to offer and minimize the disadvantages that can happen. Can you think of any other costly mistakes that people make with credit cards?

Find the best credit card for your needs.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


Five Tips for Transferring Credit Card Balances

Five Tips for Transferring Credit Card Balances

One way to save money on credit card interest rates is to find another card that to which you can transfer your balance. But is this the ideal way to handle your credit card debts?

You have probably seen offers for new credit cards that allow you to transfer balances from one card to the new card. While this may seem like a good idea and often is, there are times when it can be more costly than you might have planned. If you want to make sure your credit card balance transfer goes as smoothly as planned and provides the greatest benefit to you, be sure to consider the following questions.

Why am I in debt?
Before you transfer any balances on your credit cards, you should know why you are in debt. This is the underlying issue with most balance transfers and you aren’t solving any problems by simply moving your debt from one card to another. It may be a temporary solution, but you will just put yourself deeper into debt if you don’t evaluate your spending habits and credit card usage in the meantime.

What are the transfer fees?
A few years ago, credit cards had a maximum fee that they would charge for transferring your balance. For instance, the card may have charged 3 percent of the amount transferred with a maximum fee of $50. If you were going to transfer $10,000, for example, it would only cost $50. But with most cards doing away with capped transfer fees, you could pay $300 these days for that same transfer. Read the fine print and know the transfer fees before you finalize the transaction.

Is the card offering what I signed up for?
There is a concept called “the old bait and switch” which is prevalent in the credit card industry. This means that you are “preapproved” for a certain amount for your balance transfer card but when you get the card, the transfer limit is significantly less. If this occurs, you may have a problem because you have just increased your overall credit limit (which can negatively affect your credit score) and you are stuck with the debt from the other cards still. If you plan on financing any major purchases in the near future, you should keep this in mind and consider waiting until after the financing before signing up for the card.

Can I find a better rate?
With all of the balance transfer credit cards to choose from, you can shop around and find the best rate that you qualify for. Also, make sure you know about the card’s promotional rate and the rate you will pay once the promotional period is over or else you could be stuck paying a much higher rate for your balance transfer just a few short months down the road.

Should I close the old credit account?
After you transfer your balance from one credit card to the new one, it is important to cut up the old one. You might be tempted to close the account, but this will affect your credit score if you do it right away. Instead, cutting up the old card will help you resist the temptation to use them when you are out shopping. You can close the old credit account a few months later so it does not impact your credit score as much.

Answering these questions before you make your balance transfer will help keep your financial interests in tact. Do you have a practice of transferring balances from one card to another? If so, do you have any other tips to provide?

Find the right credit card for your needs here.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.