Credit cards are probably one of the most beneficial financial tools present today. It is a form of plastic money that allows the cardholder to avail a short-term, unsecured financial advance from a particular lender.
Along with the convenience of available credit at any given moment, a cardholder also enjoys various loyalty programs like credit card reward points, complimentary airport lounge access, fuel surcharge waiver, etc.
Unfortunately, despite the multitude of features and benefits credit cards offer, many people still avoid it siting reasons for security issues, data breach, fraudulent transactions, etc. While identity theft is a major issue in modern times, one can easily avoid such a crime if they follow certain precautions. So, let’s take a look at a few tips to ensure financial security while you use a credit card.
1. Do not Make a Transaction on an Open Network – Limit your credit card usage especially for online shopping when you are on a public Wi-Fi network. Any data on an open network is easily accessible because it does not encrypt your personal information and credit card details while it gets transmitted.
Financial institutions and lending companies suggest you use only your home network to access and use your credit card for an online purchase. Even if you redeem your credit card reward points to avail discounts on a product, opt to purchase it from retailers who have tie-ups with your financial institution. Partnered outlets might also offer various unique things to do with the reward points.
2. Do not Share Sard Details with Unverified Representatives – One of the common methods of identity theft is to guise as an organisation you trust and acquire the necessary details of your card. ‘Phishing’ is a term associated with such practices and the easiest method to avoid it is to prevent your card details to anyone over phone or email.
If for any reason you need to contact your lender, use the contact details found on the onboarding papers, credit card statements, etc.
3. Maintain Basic Precautions for your Online Account – Most cardholders prefer to use it for online shopping as it offers the maximum amount of reward points against the money spent. You can bolster the security of your online account with a strong password and unique identification number. Also, remember to update your password periodically to maximise the privacy of your account.
You should also follow some other safety measures, like always log-out after you complete your transaction, not to store your username and password on your computer, ignore dubious emails pretending to be from your lender, etc.
If you are a frequent online shopper, prefer secure e-commerce websites only. Experts advise to use a secure payment service, preferably one which your financial organisation manages. It will also ensure you enjoy a seamless and efficient credit card reward points accumulation for the money you spend online.
4. Go through your Credit Card Statement Thoroughly – Your credit card statement is probably the best method to detect any fraudulent activity on your credit account. Every statement carries essential information like a list of debits done on that account, date, time and place or all the transactions, and the name of the vendors where you used your card. Careful checking will help you detect any expense that you did not do or do not know of.
Credit card statements also carry other information including bill payment date and present count of your credit card reward points. Do not skip on these data while you go through a statement.
You should also know how to use a credit card to build credit score that will be very vital when applying for loan.
Various financial institutions today offer theft and fraudulent activity protection plans to prevent their customers from losing money. For example, the Bajaj Finserv RBL Bank SuperCard offers ‘in-hand security’ and ‘zero-fraud liability’ to eliminate any threat of cyber crime.
You can prevent falling victim of such a criminal activity if you follow these suggestions and use your credit responsibly. Credit cards can prove to be a great financial tool to help you during your daily life and time of emergency if you use it accordingly.
Despite being one of the most common and best forms of plastic money, people avoid credit cards fearing fraudulent activity and identity theft. This was especially rampant during the early days when people did not have a clear idea about the benefits of a credit card.
Thankfully this situation has changed by a great extent. Credit cards are now a lot safer, thanks to various awareness programs and a noteworthy initiative by financial institutions to prevent fraud. Advanced online security layers and data encryption algorithm also makes your private data a lot less accessible for the criminals.
As a cardholder, you are also responsible for your credit account. There are some easy steps that you can follow to keep your personal data secure while you utilise your credit card to its fullest extent. You will earn a significant amount of credit card reward points and redeem those for various things you can do with the credit card reward points without compromising your financial safety.
Certain changes to how you use your card online, where you transact when you purchase some good with your credit card, or even which internet connection you use can bring a significant change to your financial security while using a credit card. Following some tips can reduce your chances of falling victim to any deceitful activity. User caution, vigilance, and frequent self-monitoring can improve the already existing security features and help you enjoy an error-free credit history.