Should I Save My Credit Card Information on a Website?

Should I Save My Credit Card Information on a Website?

Credit cards are generally a safe way to shop for goods and services online. This is because credit card companies offer fraud protection should your card number and related details fall into the hands of a cybercriminal.  However, this does not mean you should necessarily save your credit card details on an ecommerce site you regular buy items from.

The easy answer is no, you should not save your credit card online if you want zero risk.

If you do not save your credit card info on a website your number, expiry dates, information related to the card will be removed. So, if any of the companies you shop with have a data breach, cybercriminals will not see any record your card.

However, cybercriminals can also access your credit card details if your computer or phone is infected with malware.  This is because the credit card details are saved within your browser settings.  Therefore, a data breach of a company does not even need to occur!

Should You Save Your Credit Card Info?

Each consumer needs to decide the level of convenience they desire when shopping online and weigh the pros and cons. The only reason to save your card details is convenience. It makes for a quick checkout every time.

If you want zero risk, you should not save your credit card details when buying something online. This way the online account with the company does not contain the credit card number and the card information will not be saved on your computer.

You should never save any details of your credit card online, such as in notepad or a Word Document.  Do not write it down on a paper and put it in a file either. Only reference your card details from the card itself.

Ways Cybercriminals Access Credit Cards

There are a variety of ways credit cards are compromised. The bottom line is scams gather information about you from multiple sources. If they gain enough information, they can steal your identity.

  • Physical credit cards are stolen or lost.  Report your card as stolen or lost to your credit card company immediately. When discarding old card, cut them into little bits. Do not throw uncut cards into the garbage where thieve can find them in the garbage.
  • Card skimmers. A scammer gets access to you card for a brief moment and scans is on a skimmer. Or skimmers are added to shopping scanners or banks machines. Shimmers are new tech that steal your chip information.
  • Card Shimmers:  This is new technology that steals your credit card chip information has it’s skimmed.
  • Clicking on malicious links in phishing emails or texts, which infects your devices with malware to access all of your personal information.
  • Using public Wi-Fi networks that are not secure.
  • Data breaches. Even if you keep your computer secure, a company data breach will reveal your personal details to cybercriminals.
  • Formjacking.  Legitimate websites are hacked and gather information as user enter their info on a form.

Only partial information about you will compromise your online accounts and the information each account holds about you.

Compromised data can also help scammers target your more specifically into clicking a link or answering personal questions on a scam phone call.

Reason’s to Not Save Your Credit Card Information

To recap, though saving your card information makes it easier to make purchases, it also opens up the possibility of potential fraud.

The more websites your card information is stored on, the more companies your personal information is tied to.

When card information is saved online, it can be used by anyone who has access to your device. If your device is hacked, or infected with certain malware, cybercriminals can gain that level of access.

Entering the CVV when making a purchase does add an extra layer of protection but does not eliminate all risk entirely if scammers have other means to use your credit card.

For those who want to be extra cautious, if you shop without an account and use guest checkout, no information whatsoever is saved by the e-commerce website.  However, you will have to give up additional incentives gained by having an account, such as loyalty points.

Best practices even if you do have an account is to not save the credit card information.

Read our three part series on how to protect yourself from scams.
Begin with Common Scams: Part 1 

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