How to shop and pay safely online

Safety and security are important when it comes to online shopping. Not only do they help to protect the money you spend on a particular purchase, they also mean your card details are kept safe wherever you open an account, and your risk of falling victim to ID fraud is much lower.

Here are some of the ways you can keep yourself and your money safer when shopping online, from best practice when filling in order forms, to some of the ways you can prevent fraudsters from getting access to your full current account balance if they do manage to get your debit card details.

Where to buy online

There are millions of websites worldwide and the unfortunate truth is that not all of them are as legitimate as they could be – so be careful when placing an order online, as in the best case scenario you might not get what you pay for, and in the worst cases your account might be charged even more fraudulently.

For larger purchases, a credit card can give you the right to claim your money back from the card issuer if you never receive what you ordered, but on smaller general transactions this does not apply.

It can be helpful to look for genuine customer reviews and social media mentions of a particular brand, which can help you to decide if you trust them to supply you with the goods or services you are thinking of buying from them.

Security and encryption

First of all, look for the padlock icon in your browser when making a purchase – it’s a sign that the data you send to that website’s server is encrypted, and it can make it harder for anyone to hack your internet connection and get your bank account or debit card details.

But also be sensible in your own right. Don’t tick the ‘remember me’ box on websites you are unlikely to order from again – there’s no need to leave your card details stored there – and if you want to be as secure as possible, don’t allow sites to remember your card even if you do plan to buy from them again.

It’s often worth having an overall password on your computer or laptop, as this is a good way to lock prying eyes out, a kind of one-stop solution to system security – but it doesn’t excuse you for lax security online, so try to be careful every time you buy anything.

What card details should I share?

There are a few different details you might be asked for online that you don’t normally have to give, including:

  • The Card Verification Value (CVV) from the card signature strip.
  • A separate security code you set up with your card issuer for online verification.

However, be cautious if you think you are being asked for more personal information than is usually necessary – and never give out your card’s PIN number, the four-digit code you type in when you use it to withdraw cash at an ATM.

A secondary account for online shopping

For even more protection against losing the money in your current account, some people choose to have a secondary account for online shopping, where you can just move funds into the account via online bank transfer, and then use the account’s debit card to spend them online.

An example of this is the Arro Personal Account. It can be your primary account if you wish, but as a secondary account the Arro Money dashboard makes it easy to log in and move funds in via the sort code and account number, and the MasterCard® debit card you get is widely accepted not only online, but in the ‘real world’ too.

Safe and secure account management

As always when managing your money online, be aware of security. Some web browsers will automatically save your personal details, account logins and even passwords when you type them in for the first time – so if your computer isn’t kept totally secure, you might want to switch this feature off for your Arro login.

For our part, we make sure your connection is encrypted – again just look for the padlock icon or the word ‘Secure’ in your browser address bar – and we also make our website mobile-friendly so you get the same security when logging in from a mobile device.