How Can I Tell If My Online Transaction Is Secure?

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

Online shopping is a modern blessing, but the risk of financial data being stolen can make it feel more like a curse. Avoid that sinking feeling after clicking “Complete Transaction” by taking these steps to make sure your online transaction is secure.

Thwart hackers with the best internet security tips!
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter.

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

1. Use a Secure Connection

Make sure that both the Wi-Fi connection and the website URL that you’re using are secure. Never share personal or financial data over a public Wi-Fi connection. If you must shop over public Wi-Fi, use a VPN (virtual private network) to add security to the transaction.

Best virtual private network (VPN)
Nord VPN
NordVPN
Starts at
$11.99
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

2. Use a Trusted Website

Verify the security of the website you’re using by looking for ”https” at the beginning of the URL and checking for the closed lock or unbroken key in the browser, which indicates that your data will be secure and encrypted when submitted on that website.

3. Read the Privacy Statement

Any reputable site will clearly disclose how they protect and secure your personal information, including your credit card or banking data. Taking a few minutes to read the full privacy statement is worth it to ensure that you’re comfortable with the company’s privacy practices before you complete an online transaction.

4. Opt for Credit over Debit

A credit card offers you far more protection from fraud than a debit card. It’s a warning sign if a site only accepts debit cards or other forms of payment like PayPal. If a shady online peddler gets a hold of your debit card information, they could wipe out your bank account. Always use a credit card for online transactions, especially if it’s a new company or website that you haven’t done business with before.

5. Keep an Eye on Your Accounts

Sometimes the most crucial time to verify the security of an online transaction is after the fact. Keep copies of all confirmation and order numbers, and watch your credit card statements closely for any discrepancies. If you spot anything suspicious, alert the credit card company immediately.

Consider purchasing identity theft protection to keep you covered if your personal information does become compromised.

Best identity theft protection
IDShield
Starting from
$14.95
/mo

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

What Is Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud is the act of stealing a card holder’s account information to buy goods and services or take out cash advances. It’s also one of the biggest fears of people who use credit cards for online transactions. The good news is that federal law limits your liability to $50, as long as you complete a timely report of any unauthorized purchases. In addition, most major credit card companies have zero liability fraud policies, which means you won’t be on the hook for any charges made as a result of credit card fraud.

If the worst does happen, the sooner you can report the culprits, the less damage they can cause. Take the steps recommended here for safer online transactions, and stay diligent when it comes to checking your account statements and reviewing recent charges.


Compare the best internet security products

Brand
Best for
Starting price
Specs
Standout feature
Learn more
Best identity theft protection

$1 million recovery insurance

Two-factor authentication
Best VPNWorks on 6 devices 5,100 servers

60 countries

Best parental control Unlimited devicesEmail and social media monitoring, powerful parental controls
Best antivirus/malware software Protects up to 10 devices Includes VPN and password manager
Best password manager Unlimited devices with Premium plan VPN and dark web monitoring with Premium plan

Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.
*First year only. Regular price $99.48/yr.
**First year only. Regular price $59.99/yr.

*Amazon.com price as of 4/8/2021 at 9:10 a.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

Recent Articles

medical alert products on an illustrated background
Best Medical Alert Systems
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...
Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
Best Apartment Security Systems
These renter-friendly apartment security systems help keep you safe and require less commitment than your...
woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
Best Home Security Systems
After thousands of hours of tests and research, we picked Vivint and SimpliSafe as the...
photo of Canadian house
The Best Home Security Systems in Canada
Find the best home alarm system to protect your house. We looked at price, features,...