When shopping online, it’s wise to pay with a credit card instead of a debit card, if possible. Both payment methods allow you to dispute a charge if the merchandise never arrives or is different from what was ordered.
However, with a debit card, the purchase will have already been deducted from your bank account and it may take days or weeks to have it returned.
When ordering online, look to ensure that your browser has a secure connection. In the address bar, a padlock should appear if your browsing session is secure.
Some debit and credit card providers offer one-time card numbers to be used for online transactions to further protect your financial information. Contact your card provider to see if they offer such a service.
Don’t forget, when shopping online there are often additional costs, such as shipping and handling fees. Be sure to account for those additional charges when comparing prices across multiple websites.
Keep your receipts and be sure you understand retailers' return policies and periods so you can return any unwanted items in a timely manner and get a full refund.
Some retailers may offer layaway plans or other payment plans so you can pay for that must-have holiday gift in installments over time or at a later date.
Before you agree to such a plan, be sure to ask whether the retailer charges fees to use its payment programs and whether the payments and fees are refundable if a purchase is canceled or must be returned.