Online payments are widely adopted all around today. The clear reason for this is convenience, as you can buy products without leaving the house. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably digitally swiped your credit card more frequently than usual. However, was every single transaction secure?
Online transactions can be a boon or bane for the users. Why bane? Users’ breached credentials like passwords and usernames can lead to account takeovers or unauthorized transactions made from your account. However, companies are doing their best to ensure safe online transactions. Here are some interesting stats about online payments, according to American Express Report 2019:
- Around 47% of the users use a credit card for online payments, whereas 49% use a debit card.
- 53% of users say that they have been a victim of fraud.
These stats depict that you need to be careful while making online payments.
Steps to ensure safe online transactions
If you do online shopping frequently, it is necessary for you to ensure that you follow all the mentioned steps to secure your transactions and their details.
1. A secure link
A secure connection is the first requirement to fulfill. While making a payment anywhere on the web, make sure that the link has “HTTPS” in the beginning. If it does not, it is not safe to pay via that link.
2. Use of credit card
Debit cards and credit cards are both used to complete transactions. The key advantage of using a credit card for payments is that it offers more protection for the consumer. Even if your credit card credentials get compromised, the damage will be easier to mitigate when compared to that in the case of a debit card. Moreover, it is easy to issue a dispute in case of credit card fraud than recovering money taken from a debit card.
3. Strong passwords
Strong passwords will always be relevant, and you should always take the time to come up with unique and complex combinations. Hackers who know the art of brute-force or dictionary attacks will easily crack your passwords if they are not robust enough. Hence, it is best to create strong passwords by using a combination of numbers, characters, and special characters. These increase the complexity of the password.
4. Use security tools
Antivirus tools will shield your PC from all types of online threats. Run regular scans and always update these programs to guarantee that they are in the best shape to fight. In combination with this, you can also install a VPN to safeguard your online activities. It will encrypt traffic on websites that might fail to do so. Thus, a VPN can prevent your information from being stolen in transit.
5. Avoid public hotspots
Wherever you go, you will be tempted to connect to free Wi-Fi. The rule is that you should always access your bank accounts, shopping accounts, and anything with your financial information while connected to secure networks. Public Wi-Fi and machines lack security measures. Hence, attackers nearby or network managers could potentially snoop on the actions you perform.
How do you know a business secures your transactions?
1. Encryption. Most of the providers keep all the necessary user info and transaction data encrypted. This is what ensures that your critical information is secure. Businesses usually use public-key encryption or symmetric key encryption for data security.
2. Two-factor authentication. You must have heard of OTP (One Time Password). It is an advanced way to secure digital payments by ensuring that the one making the payment is actually an authentic user. Other ways of two-factor authentication are security questions, push notifications, etc.
3. Digital signatures. A digital signature provides a unique identity to your message. Thus, it makes sure that it’s you who sent it. A digital signature is usually used for verification purposes.
4. Safe login screen. The app’s login screen can be a treasure trove of information if not appropriately secured. Hence, it is necessary for you to make sure that you are entering your credentials on a protected screen.
In a nutshell, online cyberattacks are on the rise. Therefore, you need to keep your data secure. There are multiple methods to do that, such as using a VPN, antivirus, and many others.