February 2013 Online Payments

Online Payments

Here’s another topic that I find myself repeating a lot, and it’s an important one, namely making payments for stuff on the internet. How can you minimise the risks of paying for products or services online? Well, here are a couple of very simple things you can do, to make yourself feel safer and limit any damage should the worst happen.

Pick a card – any card.

Choose an existing zero balance credit card or apply for a new one. There are some advantages to using a credit card over a debit card or a bank account. The biggy is that credit cards fall under the Consumer Credit Directive, meaning that if you buy something that turns out to be substandard or broken, you have an additional route to claim your money back. So, if you can’t chase the supplier for some reason – perhaps it has gone out of business – your card provider will reimburse you. This only applies if your purchase cost between £100 and £60,260, so it won’t help you when you buy your next Aston Martin! 😉

You should also be aware that some cards offer Cashback and Discounts on specific types of purchases so take a look round and see if there is one that suits you.

Don’t forget though, whatever card you may decide to use, make sure you always pay off the balance in full and thereby save yourself some hefty interest charges.

Credit limit

An important point to consider when selecting a card is the credit limit. Don’t just go for the biggest you can get. Pick one that is realistically set to around the maximum you would expect to spend in any given month, perhaps with a little leeway. The reason for this is that should the worst happen and someone get a hold of your card details – and bear in mind this could happen in a restaurant or a petrol station, not just the internet – then your liability is going to be very much more restricted because the card will reach its limit much quicker than if you go for one with a limit sufficient for that Aston Martin! So if you are applying for a new card, don’t just take the limit they give you, if you are only ever likely to buy the odd book or DVD then £100 is more than enough, so ask them to drop the limit to something sensible.


OK, so if you are going to pay for stuff online then it makes sense to minimise the number of times you have to give people a credit or debit card number, or for that matter your bank account details. In fact if you can effectively reduce the number of times you do this to just one, then that would be an extremely good thing, and I think the best way to do this is to use PayPal. If you’ve not heard of PayPal then it’s worth a visit to their website to find out the facts. In essence, you register with them, you give them the crucial payment information, and from them on when you shop you look to pay by PayPal. When you do this, you enter your PayPal details, and NOT your precious card or bank details. PayPal pays the supplier, and then PayPal takes the money from whatever details you have given them, be it a Bank Account, Credit or Debit card. If you have set up more than one payment method then you can choose which one at the time of paying.

There are other advantages to PayPal too – like taking payments or transferring money to family/friends – which makes it very useful. You can even pay me by PayPal by transferring money to my Mobile Number! Feel free to try it now if you don’t believe me 😉

Not all websites allow you to pay with PayPal – though most now do – so for those sites you have to decide if you trust them enough to pay with a credit card or go elsewhere (a quick Google search for whatever product you are thinking of buying might even find a cheaper place that does take PayPal!), but at least you have the advantage of knowing that your credit limit is small enough to restrict any possible damage if you do pay directly with your credit card.

And finally…

So there you have it – it’s pretty simple really. Don’t forget that once you have found what you want, before you buy it, run the suppliers name through a Cashback site, there may be a bonus in it for you, and someone else will get the money if you don’t! You can even get your Cashback payments transferred into your PayPal account. If you don’t know what I am talking about then click here to read an earlier Newsletter.

OK that’s it for now, thanks for your time; I hope some of you found some of it useful. Feel free to forward this on to others if you want to.

As usual if your PC / Network / Internet / Email / Backup or whatever isn’t running smoothly at the moment, my number is below, or if you want to ask the odd question or have any suggestions for a topic for another Newsletter or you are finding something particularly frustrating / problematic on the computer front, why not send me an email.