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Steps to Paying Online With a Credit Card Safely and Securely


Credit Card Online Payment Checklists

Credit card security features for online shopping

Credit card companies have a range of security measures to protect your account from fraud when you shop online.

Many credit card companies provide 24-hour fraud-monitoring services that monitor activity on your account and contact you if they see something suspicious.

If a fraud-monitoring service can’t verify a transaction that’s been made on your account, it will be able to temporarily block your account and investigate further to ensure your credit card is protected against unauthorized transactions.

You may have already been pre-enrolled in Verified by Visa, Mastercard SecureCode and American Express Safekey. You need to enter a one-time SMS or email code each time you use your credit card to shop online.

Note that an online merchant must have registered with the program for the service to work.

American Express, Mastercard and Visa provide zero liability guarantees to cover you for fraudulent credit card use in-store, over the phone and online. Note that these liability guarantees do not cover cash advance fraud.

If you’re the victim of credit card fraud, contact your credit card provider immediately to dispute the transaction.

Other factors to consider

Keep these situations in mind when you shop online so you know how to handle them if they ever arise.

Steps to Pay Online With a Credit Card

Once you’re on the checkout page, you’ll have to enter several pieces of information to complete the transaction.

Enter Your Shipping Address
The shipping address allows the merchant to calculate your shipping price and update your purchase total. Make sure you enter the address to where you want the order shipped, even if it’s different from the billing address – where you receive your credit card statements.

Choose Credit Card as Your Payment Method
There will also be an option to choose the type of credit card you’re using, e.g. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, or a store credit card. If your credit card processor isn’t listed in the box, the merchant doesn’t accept that type of credit card. You’ll have to use another type of credit. You’ll encounter this more often with American Express and Discover than Visa or MasterCard.

Enter Your Name as It Appears on Your Credit Card
Look at the credit card to verify that you’ve entered your name correctly. Then, enter your credit card information: the credit card number, expiration date, and security code. For Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, the three-digit security code will be printed on the back of the card after the credit card number. The four-digit security code for American Express credit cards is printed on the front-right of the card, directly above the credit card number.

If you’re using a store credit card, that’s not co-branded with a major credit card company, you will not be asked for a security code.

Enter the Billing Address for Your Credit Card
This is the address at which you receive your credit card statements. Note that this address may be different from the shipping address, for example, if your statements are received at the post office but you’d like your order shipped to your home or if you’re having the order shipped to someone as a gift. The billing address must be entered correctly for your credit card transaction to go through. Check your credit card statement if you're not sure of the exact billing address.

How to Resolve Payment Issues

If your credit card is declined, verify that you’ve entered each piece of information accurately: your name, billing address, and credit card details. Even something as minor as transposed numbers can cause an error with the transaction.

You may have to use another credit card if card continues to be declined even after you've verified all the information is correct.

Should You Save Your Credit Card Information?

Many online merchants allow you to create a profile with a username and password and store your credit card, shipping, and billing information. It allows you to make future “one-click” purchases with the credit card details you’ve saved. You can save time on future purchases since you won’t have to re-enter your payment information (unless it changes). On the downside, it makes it easy for you to make impulse purchases or for someone with your login details to make purchases without having your credit card information.

Using Paypal as a Payment Alternative

Instead of entering your credit card information directly, you can use PayPal for payment processing. Before you can use Paypal for checkout, you’ll have to create an account and register your credit or debit card. Then, when you're ready to make a purchase, select "Pay with PayPal" as the payment option. You'll enter only your Paypal username and password, and Paypal will process the transaction with the payment information you have on file. Note that not all online stores accept Paypal.