How to Keep Your Credit and Debit Card Safe When Buying Gifts

Online shopping during the holidays

How to Keep Your Credit and Debit Card Safe When Buying Gifts

Whether you’re buying gifts online or in store, you’re probably going to be using your credit or debit card this holiday season. And whether it’s from private sellers, like small shops and Craigslist sellers, or big names like Amazon or eBay, there’s lots of ways to pay: Facebook P2P, PayPal, Venmo, Snapcash, or Square are some of the most popular.

But you need to make sure you’re safely paying for the items you purchase. Here’s our best advice for keeping your bank account safe when making a purchase with your credit or debit card.

Always Know How Much Money is in Your Bank Account

First of all, always make sure you know how much money is in your accounts before and after you pay. It’s important to be aware of your balances so that you know where your money is and how much you have.

It’s Safer to Link PayPal to Your Credit Card

Try not to link your PayPal account to your debit card or bank account, instead link it to a credit card. That way, you are eligible for a refund from PayPal if the item doesn’t show up or isn’t what you expected it to be.

How to Use Facebook P2P

Facebook P2P, which works through Facebook messenger and allows users to pay using their debit card, requires no fees and has an unlimited send limit. Funds take about 3 days to clear. It’s risky since you’re using a debit card and that makes your bank account more vulnerable, plus you would need to be Facebook friends with the seller to be able to send money through Facebook messenger, and if you don’t know them that well, that could also be a risk to your privacy.

Don’t Use A Public Wi-fi Connection

If you’re using Venmo to pay for the transaction, which is actually a service of PayPal, do not use a public wi-fi connection. Public wifi connections are usually not as secure and easier for scammers to hack. In general, it’s safer if you don’t use them when transferring money online or checking online bank accounts. You can link a debit card or bank account, or if you have it available, use your current Venmo balance to pay. Venmo only allows you to transfer $299.99 a week. But if you verify your identity by linking a Facebook account or verifying your account, you can increase the limit to $2,999.99 per week.

Go to a Bank for Expensive Purchases

If it’s a very expensive purchase, try to make the transaction happen at a bank. A banking professional can make sure the correct funds have been deposited successfully and your money went where it was supposed to go.

When You Sign Up for Snapcash, It’s Through Square

Snapcash, which is a feature of Snapchat that allows users to pay other users, works similar to Facebook P2P. It only allows a debit card to be linked to a user’s account, but Snapchat only controls the messaging. Square is the one that controls the debit card information. By signing up for Snapcash, you’re actually signing up for Square. Users need to be aware that they cannot cancel a transaction after they send. So if they send the wrong amount or send it to the wrong person, it will be difficult to fix. You can only send an initial $250 in one week, but when you spend more, the app will prompt you to verify your identity so your sending limit can increase. You can upgrade to a max of $2,500.

Square Cash is Free to Use

Square Cash is a free app you can download, like Facebook, Snapchat, Venmo, and PayPal, but one that again, links to your debit card. Users are also charged 3% fee for every transaction. Like Snapcash, you can only send up $250 a week, but once you verify your account, you can send up to $2,500 a week.

How to Use Google Wallet

Another option of payment is Google Wallet, which is available for iOS and Android. You can send anyone with a Gmail address cash from your Google Wallet account, which you can link to a credit card, debit card, or bank account. Transactions take about one day to send and it has no fees to send or receive money. Be wary of purchasing scams: One of the most frequently purchased items on Snapchat is illegal substances and paraphernalia. With such transactions come higher security risks not just to those purchasing such materials, but to anyone that frequents Snapchat or Facebook.

Stay aware and always know how much is leaving and going into your bank account while shopping this holiday season. If you need assistance setting up a merchant system for your business this holiday season, contact us today.

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