Credit Card Security: How To Keep Your Financial Information Safe Online

Learn how to protect your credit card data from cybercriminals and keep your hard-earned cash safe in your bank account.

Nikolina Cveticanin Image
Updated:

September 28,2022

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It seems like every other day, there is another news story about a data breach. Credit card information is being stolen left and right, sparking credit card security concerns among consumers. 

While it can be difficult to protect yourself from every possible attack, there are steps you can take to make your credit card information more secure. We will explain some of the best ways to protect yourself from credit card information theft.

1. Make Use of Your Credit Card’s Security Features

When it comes to credit card safety tips, the first one is to enable all the security features. Credit card issuers provide several such features, including two-factor authentication, SMS alerts, and banking app notifications. For some features, you’ll need to ask your bank to give you access to them. Additionally, you can set up transaction limits.

Two-factor authentication is comprised of two steps, as its name suggests. The first step includes providing your CVV number, which is located on the back of your credit card. 

For added security, the second step involves another set of numbers, but these can’t be found anywhere on the card. Instead, you receive this one-time password by email, text, or within the banking app.

SMS alerts are texts you get to your phone number, notifying you whenever your credit card has been used to ensure credit card security. Banking app notifications work the same way, but you need to be connected to the internet to receive them. 

Thus, if you become a victim of credit card fraud and the perpetrator starts spending your money, you’ll be notified immediately, which allows you to take action as quickly as possible. 

Transaction limits may not prevent fraud, but they can lessen the damage. The bank won’t allow the spending to go over the limit, so if someone is online shopping with your credit card, they won’t be able to max it out. 

2. Beware of Phishing 

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t share your credit card information with others. However, things are not as simple as they may seem on the surface. Some bad actors may scam you into giving out that information. 

The most popular technique scammers use to get you to offer credit card info willingly is called phishing. For example, it can involve them sending you an email that looks like it’s coming from a credible source, such as your bank. 

The email will say that there is some sort of problem with your account and that you need to provide your credit card information to fix it. Of course, this isn’t true, and if you comply, your banking information will fall into the wrong hands.

Therefore, to keep the information about your credit card safe, you should always verify the source, despite the sense of urgency the person who contacts you creates. You should also know that your bank isn’t likely to ask for sensitive information via email or phone.

3. Don’t Store Your Credit Card Info on Your Browser

We know having to input all those numbers from your credit card each time you want to make a purchase can be quite a nuisance. The option to save your credit card information can seem a good idea due to its convenience. However, you should know that this makes you very vulnerable in the event of a cyber attack

If a cybercriminal were to hack your computer, they would easily access all your saved info, including your credit card number. While they won’t be able to get your CVV this way, they will attempt to acquire this information by other means, such as the above-mentioned phishing method. Therefore, one of the methods of securing your credit card information is to never click on “save” after entering your credit card details online.

4. Stay Away From Public Wi-Fi Networks

When you’re out and about, you may be tempted to use free public Wi-Fi networks, especially if you don’t have any mobile data. However, if a cybercriminal is lurking on the public Wi-Fi network, they may be able to intercept your data and steal your credit card details. What is more, they may even create their own Wi-Fi hotspot. 

If you absolutely need Wi-Fi and have no choice but to connect to a public one, there are ways to stay safe. One of the best methods involves using a virtual private network. That way, your data will be encrypted, and the hacker won’t be able to access it.

5. Use an Online Payment System 

If you frequently shop online, you may want to consider using an online payment system to protect your credit card from hackers. Your online transactions can be safer thanks to additional security provided by online payment systems like PayPal. 

For instance, PayPal actually pays hackers who find any vulnerabilities in their system, which is something financial institutions don’t do. This type of hacking is commonly known as ethical hacking.

6. Only Shop on Trusted Sites

When you’re entering your credit card info on an online shopping site, make sure it’s one you can trust so that you can protect your credit card online. A good way to check this is to look for the padlock icon in the address bar. This means the site is using encryption, which ensures that your data will be securely transmitted.

In addition, to make sure the site is encrypted, you should also take a look at the URL. The URL of a secure site should start with “https://,” not “http://.” Of course, this isn’t foolproof since some scammers may go through the trouble of creating a fake website that looks legitimate. However, it will significantly reduce the chances of your data getting stolen.

Apart from ensuring the website is encrypted, you can also check its reputation online. If there are many reviews from satisfied customers, then the site is likely trustworthy.

7. Use Virtual Account Numbers

One of the best ways to protect your credit card information is using virtual credit card numbers. This is a temporary account number that’s generated by your credit card issuer and is linked to your account. You can use this number for online purchases, and if your information is ever compromised, the number will have expired by the time a cyber attacker tries to use it. 

8. Keep Your Devices Protected and Up-to-Date

Protecting credit card information also involves keeping the devices you use to make payments secure. This involves installing a good antivirus program. Moreover, you should make sure your operating system and apps are up-to-date.

If you’re using a mobile payment service, then be sure to install anti-malware and update the software on your smartphone, as well. The reason why you should update your devices is that cybercriminals often exploit security vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to people’s devices and steal their information. 

Final Comments

By following the tips above, you can help ensure that your credit card information stays safe and avert identity theft. Remember, it’s important to be vigilant when entering your info online or using public Wi-Fi networks. A little bit of caution can go a long way in keeping your information out of the hands of cybercriminals.

FAQ
How do I secure my credit card?

Credit cards come with several safety features, including two-factor authentication, SMS alerts, and banking app notifications. You should make sure those are enabled for maximum credit card safety. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to refrain from saving your credit card info on your browser when shopping online.

Can someone use my credit card without CVV?

No one can use your credit card to make purchases online without the CVV code. This three-digit number is one of the security features of a credit card.

What card details should you never give out?

Your credit card number, expiry date, and CVV code are all sensitive pieces of information that should never be given out. These details are used to make online purchases, so by sharing them, you risk having someone make fraudulent charges on your card.

What if someone knows your credit card number?

The number one rule of credit card security is to never share your credit card details. If someone has managed to get a hold of your credit card number, you should immediately contact your credit card company.

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