Using a credit card when making online payments is generally one of the safest and most secure ways to pay, however, that’s not to say it’s entirely risk-free. Given the rise in e-commerce and online transactions in recent years, it’s essential to know when, where, and how to spend your hard-earned money online in a relatively low-risk way. Stolen credit card details can impact not only your finances, but your privacy and personal identity, too.

It requires a few tasks on your end to minimize the risk of your credit card details being stolen. Firstly, it’s essential to guarantee that you’re shopping on a secure e-commerce website. You can ensure the security of a website by checking the URL. Websites that contain an “s” after “http” are secured and will encrypt your data. After all, “S” stands for secure. So, you’d be looking for sites that contain “https://” at the start of the website URL. The payment pages on secure e-commerce sites have encryptions that prevent anyone from monitoring or recording your credit card number. It should also be addressed that saving your credit card details with a site is something to be careful of. If you’re going to save your credit card details with a site, you should ensure that your account is secure, meaning you should have a complex and unique password for your account on that site.

To avoid having your information stolen through a phishing scam, refrain from clicking on websites that are sent to you via email or direct messaging. Rather, type the website address (including the “https” prefix) into your trusted web browser to ensure you are only accessing encrypted sites. Phishing scams can come in a variety of forms, such as a phone call supposedly from your issuing bank asking for you to confirm your account details, or a retailer sending you an email promoting a sale or free items.

When making payments online, you’ll need to make sure that the device and network you’re connected to are both secure. This means no shopping while connected to public Wi-Fi, as you never know who could be lurking. If it is necessary to use a public network when making an online payment, it’s a good idea to invest in a VPN. It’s best to make online purchases from your home network, or another private, trusted network that you can ensure is secure.

Another reason that credit cards are generally safer than other payment options is the fact that most issuers offer zero fraud liability, meaning that you are not held accountable for any fraudulent charges to your credit card if you report the fraud to your financial institution in a timely manner.

If you possess more than one credit card, it is advised to select one card and use only that card for online transactions to further minimize the risk of your card details being stolen. This way, you can easily monitor for any fraudulent charges and protect yourself from exposing the details of any other credit cards you may have.

Credit card theft is unfortunately very common, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. So, being aware of how to minimize the risk of your details being stolen can help you window shop freely, knowing that your accounts are safe and as secured as they possibly can be.