For most of us, our smartphones and laptop computers have become an integral part of our banking and shopping experiences.
In fact, for many people, going into a bank or even a shopping mall is becoming more and more of a rarity. While computers and smart devices make things more convenient, one thing you should never do is store your payment information online.
Think twice before you store your payment information online
Case in point: To save time, some internet browsers allow you to save your credit card info so that when you need it, all you have to do is click a button to have your information filled in automatically.
Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are just two of the browsers that let you save your credit card information — but here’s why you shouldn’t do that:
- It increases your susceptibility to being hacked: The more data you store online, the more of a chance there is that criminals will be able to access it through nefarious means.
- It makes impulse shopping that much easier: The convenience of clicking and buying may be a temptation too great to resist.
The same goes for websites that allow you to store your credit card or bank account information. Just recently some Airbnb customers had their accounts compromised and were charged thousands of dollars for fake reservations.
Even if you do manually enter your credit card info on a website, make sure you’re on a secure Wi-Fi connection. If you’re using public Wi-Fi, the risk of a data breach is even greater because there’s only so much security on open networks.
Money expert Clark Howard has some sage advice on how he keeps his payment information safe online when he uses a computer.
There are only 2 places Clark uses Wi-Fi
“Like so many people today, I have unlimited data on my cell phone. I’m also privileged that my cell phone comes with unlimited hotspot,” he says.
“Unless I’m at home or work, where I think I can trust the Wi-Fi, I operate off my own hotspot so that I’m not putting myself in the position where I might be exposed and vulnerable.”
No matter what a company says about the protections it has in place, your online data should be considered at risk. That’s just the state of cybersecurity these days.
That said, if you happen to be caught up in a data breach, there are consumer protections for credit card users that aren’t available for those who pay with debit cards, so always use credit — not debit.