How to keep your credit card safe on Black Friday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014 are on track to be a couple of the busiest online shopping days ever and all customers will be paying for purchases using a credit card of some description.

Making sure your credit card is safe online has never been more critical given the number of breaches that have taken place over the past year and to ensure all Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases are safe, here is a list of handy tips:

Use only secure sites

Make sure the site has an https connection in the URL, and a padlock alongside the web address or another digital security certificate to make sure the transaction has end-to-end encryption.

Never send credit card information over email

This one speaks for itself but don’t be fooled – however legitimate the email looks.

Use a prepaid card online

Usually the preserve of people off on their holidays, prepaid credit cards are an ingenious way to separate online transactions from bricks and mortar shopping. Most retailers offer them for a small fee and the biggest advantage is that only a limited amount of money can be taken if the card is compromised.

Activate your credit card’s added security

Whether it’s a MasterCard or a Visa, the card in your hand as you start shopping on Black Friday has an extra layer of security that should prompt you to enter an additional password when completing any transaction. Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode flashes up when the transaction is being completed and the service asks for certain characters from the passwords before the sale can go through.

Keep an eye on your statement

With many customers now going paperless, less and less people check their statements for bogus transactions. If shopping on Black Friday, buck the trend and check your statement at least once a day for anything suspicious

Avoid auto-complete

Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer are a shopper’s best friend on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but at the same time they can be the worst of enemies going forwards. Auto-complete, which is present in all browsers, sometimes likes to inadvertently store credit card details or personal information and as such should be turned off. To do this is easy:

Firefox: Go to Menu > Options > Privacy > History and then choose to use custom settings for history. Then just uncheck Remember search and form history.

Chrome: Go to Settings > Show Advanced Settings > Passwords and Forms > Manage Auto-fill settings. Under this delete any information already there and then uncheck the Enable Auto-fill.

Internet Explorer: Click Settings > Internet Options > Content then click settings next to AutoComplete and uncheck Forms.

Safari: Go to Preferences > AutoFill and then uncheck the remember form data option as well as the credit card option.

Other more obvious tips:

  • Don’t allow the retailer to store your credit card details
  • Use a different password for every online retailer
  • Never enter credit card details on a public computer or where someone can see your screen

Doing all of these things will help to make sure the only surprise on Black Friday are the gifts you’ve bought your loved ones.