These days the most common way of making payments is by using credit or debit cards. Across the world, people are becoming more comfortable in utilizing this fantastic mode of payment processing. It certainly gives tremendous power and helps people to save time while performing financial transactions, but as Spider man said: “With great power comes great responsibility”. If you are not vigilant enough, your card information may be captured by scammers. The details may be sold on the dark web. In this detailed article, we will talk about top precautions you must take while performing any credit card transaction either offline or online. Let’s get started.
Use specific cards for specific purposes — local and International Transaction.
Banks and card issuers are extraordinarily aggressive in sales these days. Many of these try to sell additional cards to us. Keep a minimum number of Debit/Credit cards with you. Make sure that you use specific cards for the specific type of transactions. For business-related transactions, use your business credit or debit card. If it is a personal transaction, then use your personal card. This will help you to monitor transactions while they happen smoothly. Use specific cards for international and local purchases.
Check the merchant’s website URL. Check If they are PCI compliant. Check if the card information is being collected on a PCI compliant page.
While making payments online, you must be vigilant about what website you are putting your credit card information on. You must check if the site has got an SSL certificate. The URL should resolve on the https protocol. You should also check if the website is PCI compliant or the Gateway that it uses is PCI compliant. In many cases, the transaction will not complete until you are redirected to a hosted payment page. This is a secure page located on the server of the PCI compliant gateway. You can look up the URL of this page for the brand name of the Gateway on Google and see if they are fully compliant to the PCI standard. In most of the cases, the hosted payment page will show the PCI compliance notification.
Prefer Invoice Payment
Although making payment directly on the E-commerce website of the merchant helps you in easily executing the order but there is one more way which can help you in getting an invoice before making the payment. Most of the payment processing companies offer invoice payment facilities to merchants. You can ask your merchant to send you an invoice on your registered email address. This way, you will have a piece of documentary evidence that you received before making payment. Once you click on the link that you received from your merchant, this may lead to a hosted payment page located at the Gateway. One the secure hosted page you can put the card information.
Add OTP feature to your card if available.
In many countries, card issuers are required by law to either utilize a one-time password. If your Bank or the card issuer offers this feature, then you must look at obtaining it. This way you will get notification of any transaction happening on your card. Without getting an SMS on your mobile, no sales will occur.
Replace the card with a new one if needed
Just in case you have used your card for a very long time then it’s probably the right time for you to request a new card. A brand new card will come with brand new card information. You can go back to your merchants later and update the further card information.
While paying at retail location keep an eye on the card. Make sure the HD cameras do not capture your Pin code.
When making payment at retail stores or card-present scenarios, make sure that you keep a close eye on your card. There have been instances where cashiers have skimmed hundreds and thousands of cards. When you proactively monitor where is your card moving then you certainly reduce the risk. Some cards may require a pin for a transaction to be processed. While you submit this information, make sure that you cover the keypad with your hand. In the age of high definition CCTV cameras, even distantly located cameras can easily record your hand movements and identify your PIN. A combination of this video and skimmed card details eventually can become very expensive for you.
Dont click on Spam emails that redirect to insecure websites.
The internet has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the most significant drawbacks is phishing or fraudulent emails. Avoid clicking on the email that you are not sure where it came from. These scammers are highly intelligent in terms of confusing the cardholders. If you get an email which appears to be from your Bank then before clicking on any of the links, it’s always nice to speak to your someone at your bank or your relationship manager for the same.
Never give your card details over the phone if you are not sure about the card info security.
Although Moto or mail order telephone order payment facility is offered to highly reputed merchants, it is always advised to double-check before giving your card information on the phone. In countries like India getting a moto account can be extremely difficult, and that is why if you are based in India and someone asks for credit card information on the phone, then you must say no. Having said that in nations like the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Germany processing companies offer Moto facility to merchants. In this case, before giving the credit card information on phone you must verify if you are calling the right number which is listed on the registered merchant’s website. We will still suggest you utilize an online payment facility or invoice payment if available as giving card information on the phone is very risky. Traditional PSTN lines were challenging to hack, but these days hacking smartphones, laptop, desktops is not that difficult. If you are making a voice call from a Smartphone and give your card information to a remotely located person, then there may be a possibility that someone else is listening to the transaction information. To add a level of security, you must have a highly robust antivirus solution installed on your mobile as well as other computing devices. Keeping your computers and internet devices updated with all the latest patches also helps in reducing these internet frauds. If you are using a self-hosted server or something that utilizes the Cpanel server, then features as SpamAssassin can certainly help. If you think that an email is a phishing email, then do not wait and simply click the spam button or junk button and immediately remove it from your mailbox. This will help the spam defence technology companies in adding that specific email in their blacklist and will eventually help innocent individuals like you.
Avoid making payments when you are using shared or Public Wifis.
While making payments online, you must be careful about internet connectivity that you are using. If you are on a shared Wi-Fi or an Internet connection with is not practically being controlled by you or is not being delivered to you directly from your mobile or internet service provider then you should ideally avoid making online transactions. You can make payments once you are on a secure network.
At ATMs check if there are any skimmers attached. Check if there is a hidden camera above the PIN pad.
While withdrawing funds at ATMs, you must be careful as there have been multiple instances of getting the card information stolen from ATMs. Gently try to pull the card reader. Scammers use double-sided tape to fix card skimmer exactly above the card reader. With gentle force, the skimmer will come out if it is there. Scammers may have planted a hidden camera above the pin pad. Here as well they use double-sided tape, which is very easy to be pulled. Once you are sure that none of these scamming equipment is there on the ATM, then you can proceed for transaction. Apart from this, you should also look at the placement of the CCTV cameras on the ceiling and walls. Banks usually do not point the CCTV camera on the pin pad. If you find a camera that is pointing directly to the pin pad, then you must be careful. This may be a Wi-Fi camera trying to steal your PIN.
Being cautious and implementing these precautions can certainly help you in reducing the risk of fraudulent transactions. The use of credit and debit cards across the world will keep on increasing, but as a vigilant customer of card-issuing banks it our responsibility to make sure that we keep our eyes and ears open.