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You’ve found the perfect item and now it’s time to pay for it. So how do you make sure your information is secure? Fortunately, there are now multiple options available to safely conduct purchases online.
PayPal started in 1998 and became the giant of online payments when it was purchased by eBay in 2002. It now boasts more than 100 million users. All you need to set up an account is an email address. By linking a checking account or credit or debit card, you are able to electronically transfer money. PayPal basically works as a middleman between buyer and seller. One of the benefits is an added level of security as your personal information, whether it be credit card number or bank account, stays with PayPal. You can use this method to send money to businesses or individuals instantly making it a great option for both online shopping and peer-to-peer transactions. Finally, PayPal has an easy-to-navigate dispute process for when things go wrong.
The first rule for safe use of a credit card online is to ensure the site you are on is secure. You’ll need to look for “https://” rather than “http://”. The “s” means that the site is encrypted, or that it translates your information into a code. Always log out of the website when you’ve completed your transaction, and make sure your antivirus software is up to date. As a general rule, credit cards are going to have better consumer protections than debit cards, so you may want to review your bank’s policy before your purchase.
Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, Apple Pay… Welcome to the world of payment apps. These options vary in the details but ultimately they all work similarly: the user registers a credit card or bank account in order to conduct mobile payments for peer-to-peer transactions. Apple Pay allows iPhone and Apple Watch users to conduct transactions between individuals as well as in-store. Fees, processing time, and dispute policies vary, so be sure to read the fine print before you make your choice.