credit cards

How to Shop Online Securely

The temporary credit card for online shopping works just like your regular card and the merchant will never know that it’s not your real card.

By: Natasha Morgan

If you’re like most of us, you cringe when you enter your credit card information for online purchases. After all, how do we know that the merchant is honest?

Truth be told, we don’t. There are so many scams circulating the internet and many of the shysters are technically clever. They can set up websites that resemble those of name brand names and add security logos that are meant to make the victim feel secure. You unsuspectingly part with your credit card information and before you know it, your card has been hijacked.

The good news is that recently, some banks have addressed this problem. They offer a temporary credit card number on which you set a limit and you can use it without compromising your regular credit card.

Avoid erroneous billing:

Even honest merchants can make errors. From time to time we’ve seen incorrect or duplicate charges applied to our credit card. Using a “Secure Shop” feature will eliminate the duplication and prevent a charge that is higher than your set limit.

Here’s how it works:

* When you’re ready to make your purchase you sign into “Secure Shop”. Banks have their own trademarked names for this service.

* Once on the site, you enter the spending limit you want to give that merchant.

* The system will automatically generate a temporary credit card number, expiration date and security code.

* The same temporary card can be used for multiple purchases with the same merchant provided you have entered sufficient spending limit.

* If you shop at a different merchant, you simply log on to the “Secure Shop” site again and obtain a new temporary credit card.

* The temporary credit card works just like your regular card and the merchant will never know that it’s not your real card.

* Since the bank links the cards, merchants will not have access to your real card number.

Recurring payments:

If you have recurring payments and like to pay them with your credit card, you can set your “Valid Thru” date for up to 12 months in the future.

I enrolled online with my bank and found the process to be easy. You might want to check with your bank to find out if they offer the service and how their system works. Once you’ve registered, you can start shopping and not worry if some criminal is sending your confidential information to websites around the world.


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Photo: Thomas Kohler

For more information on secure online shopping read the article in the Globe and Mail.