MasterCard New Zealand's Country Manager, Albert Naffah give his top tips to shopping safe online, reminding us to be vigilant with their personal information and only purchase from reputable websites. Consumers should keep the following considerations in mind to ensure their online shopping experience is safe and hassle free.
1) Guard your privacy and do not disclose personal information unless you know who is collecting it and how it is being used. Some websites sell their customer information to third parties, so check the small print and opt out of sharing your information if you don’t want other people to use it.
2) It’s not difficult to set up a page on the Internet. Therefore, make sure you do some background research on the retailer you are buying from, especially if they are not a familiar brand name or you have not come across their website before.
3) Use a secure browser as it encrypts the purchase information you send over the Internet, which makes the transaction more secure. The majority of browsers do this as standard.
4) Most importantly, ensure you have anti-virus software loaded on all your devices, including your PC, tablet and smartphone and regularly upload security updates.
5) Making purchases using a credit or debit card is often safer as liability for unauthorised charges is limited. As a customer, you do have the responsibility to inform your financial institution if you become aware of or see an unauthorised transaction on your card, or if your card is lost and stolen. Unathorised transactions are normally covered under MasterCard’s Zero Liability policy, with your bank reimbursing you for any unauthorised transaction.
6) Pre-loaded, multi-currency travel cards are also worth considering for shoppers who are making purchases in multiple currencies as rates can be locked in and transaction costs associated with these cards are low. For consumers wanting to manage their budgets over Christmas, a pre-paid travel card will also provide the safety and security features of a credit card, but since it is pre-loaded it will help consumers manage their budget and ensure overspending doesn’t occur during the Christmas holiday season!
7) Many financial providers also put an extra level of security on online purchases which protects confidential cardholder. This is usually done by submitting an additional password known only to the cardholder, for example with MasterCard SecureCode. It provides enhanced protection against the risk of credit or debit account numbers being accessed by fraudsters in cyber space, taking online security to a whole new level.
8) It goes without saying, but it’s important to keep records of transactions and payments online. Remember to check the payment details before submitting the final payment; check the returns policy and data protection cover. Finally, print out a copy of the transaction, get a copy emailed directly to you, and make sure that the amount matches on your statement at the end of the month.
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