Whether you can believe it or not, the holiday shopping season is here once again! Now, more than ever, online shopping has become one of the most convenient ways to check items off your holiday to-do list. Although online shopping may save you time and in some instances money, there are also many things you’ll need to keep in mind to ensure you’re protecting your money and personal information. Don’t fear, we have pulled together some key tips to consider this holiday season.
Create a Holiday Budget
With many online deals at your fingertips, it may seem as though you are saving a boatload of money while purchasing your holiday gifts. Between the “Flash Sales” and “Lightning Deals”, there’s no way you could be losing money, right?! What many may not consider is that a lot of those sale items were simply bought on impulse because “The deal was hard to pass up!” On average, impulse buys can increase spending by 20% to 30%. By creating a budget for the holidays, you can ensure that you are not overspending on unnecessary items. Start by outlining who it is you plan to shop for. With this you can then determine how much you are able to spend on everyone. Plan some key items you would like to purchase and search for deals based on those specific items. Many times, Black Friday Ads are out as early as the beginning of November, which provides plenty of time for you to search deals that are actually relevant to your holiday gift list while still receiving items on time.
Shop from Secure Sites
While online shopping can be fun and convenient, ensure you are shopping with reputable retailers. Some key things to note when shopping online:
- The URL should start with “https://” rather than “http”
- Look for the lock icon next to the URL or in the browser bar, the lock icon verifies that the site uses SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption.
- If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of ads on social media platforms!
When it comes to providing information at time of checkout it is best to provide as little as possible to ensure you are protecting your information. There should not be a time in which a website should ever ask you for personal info such as your Social Security Number or online banking credentials.
Use a Credit Card vs. Debit Card for Online Purchases
To provide additional security against your assets we suggest using a credit card rather than your debit card for all online purchases. Although both forms of payment are substitutes for cash, there are some additional perks to using a credit card. Should your information be compromised, with using a credit card there should be no substantial impact to the funds that are held directly in your bank account. In addition, you can experience peace of mind knowing that VISA offers a Zero liability policy that covers transactions if your card is lost, stolen, or used in fraudulent manner. Another great perk of credit card usage is the ability to earn points, rewards, or even cash back on our purchases! This can aid in not only protecting money that you worked hard to earn, but to also put some additional cash back in your pocket.