I’ve been selling online now for a little over a month. A local friend was shocked to find out that I don’t currently have stock of my own book. I will, but I don’t have them yet. She expressed concern about putting her credit card information online. It is a valid concern, major retailers are not immune to being hacked. I decided to compile a little list of ways to purchase online without sacrificing your bank account.
- Big box stores often carry gift cards to online retailers. Using these cards prevents hackers from ever getting to your information and as an added bonus, it forces you to stay within a budget. I’ve seen these cards at Walmart, Target, and even in grocery stores. The only drawback is that if you were looking to buy an eBook (for under $5) you will have quite a balance left over on your card.
- Search engine points rewards. Swagbucks and Bing are examples of search engines where you can earn points for doing normal internet searches, or responding to surveys, watching videos. or other activities. These points can be used to redeem prizes or gift cards. Everything is done by email, so you never have to leave your home. The drawback to this is that you have to wait until you earn enough points to get what you want.
- Pre-loaded Credit Cards. You can get the type of card you want and put the amount you want on it. If someone does hack into that account, they can only take the amount you have remaining on the card. The drawback to these is that some require you fill them in cash and others have a fee for loading them, but they are safe for online use.
- Banks offer the service of turning your debit card on or off on request. You can have a card that remains “off” most of the time. Notify them before you want to go to a store or shop online and they will open it up for you for a few hours or a whole day, or will limit the spending amount for you. It is in their best interest to keep your card safe. The drawback, it can be a pain to call the bank every time you want to shop but it also keeps you accountable.
- Paypal (or other online currency) By selling online through eBay or other retailers you can have your own “bank” of money saved just for online purchases. This is probably the least safe of the 5 options because it is still open to hacking and you have to connect it to your bank to save on fees, but it isn’t required that you do. If you felt so inclined, you could even link it to an empty bank account. Paypal will not let you spend money that isn’t there. If your balance is $0 and so is the bank account, the purchase isn’t allowed.
These are 5 ways to get your Christmas shopping done online without worrying (too much) about hackers getting to your banking information. Just remember that you aren’t really safe anywhere you are. Identity theft happens to 1 in 4 people and it isn’t just online. Be safe, do what you can to protect yourself. If you have any other tips, feel free to share them in the comments below.