No, it is not safe to store your credit card information online, including on merchant websites or web browsers. The only way to ensure your credit card information is stored safely is if you keep it in an encrypted vault.
Read on to learn more about the risks of storing your credit card information online and how you can secure your credit cards moving forward.
Why People Store Their Credit Card Information Online
Online shopping is the most convenient way to shop, and because of this, people are shopping online more often. In fact, in 2023 one-third of the population worldwide will do their shopping online rather than in stores and this percentage will only continue to increase. The more people shop online, the more likely they are to become victims of cyber attacks or scams, which is why it is critically important to follow cybersecurity best practices.
Since most people do their shopping online, most are in the habit of storing their credit card information on merchant websites and web browsers to make checking-out more convenient. What people fail to consider are the risks that come along with blindly trusting these merchant sites and browsers to protect their sensitive financial information.
The Risks of Storing Credit Card Information Online
Here are some of the risks of storing your credit card information on merchant websites and web browsers.
Possibility of being involved in a data breach
Data breaches are becoming more common, especially when it comes to retail websites. According to the 2022 ForgeRock Consumer Identity Breach Report, compared to other industries, retail accounted for more than one-quarter of all breaches in 2021. The average financial cost of a data breach for retail companies also jumped by 63% from 2020 to 2021, with the biggest target being customer information.
Since retail websites are being targeted more often, it’s important you take the steps to secure your sensitive information, which includes not storing your credit card information on merchant websites. If that company were to suffer a breach, your credit card information could be stolen and sold on the dark web for anyone to buy.
Can be stolen due to a compromised account
If you’re someone who reuses the same password across multiple accounts or you use weak passwords, there’s a chance your account may become compromised. Online accounts contain a lot of sensitive information, often including credit card numbers. If someone were to compromise your account due to poor password practices, they can easily gain access to your credit card information and use it for their own benefit.
Compromised accounts can also lead to identity theft. One of the first signs of identity theft is unknown charges on your credit cards, which is why it’s crucial to secure all of your accounts with strong and unique passwords.
6 Ways to Keep Your Credit Cards Secure
Here a some of the ways you can keep your credit cards secure when online shopping.
1. Store them in a safe place
The best way to ensure your credit cards are secure is by storing them in an encrypted digital vault. Password managers aid you in keeping your credit cards, documents and passwords safe without compromising your online security. All your records are stored in a cloud-based vault that is only accessible to you and is decrypted locally on your device when you correctly enter your master password – the only password you’ll ever have to remember. You’ll also be able to access your vault from anywhere on any device, so there’s no need to worry about not having your card information with you.
What makes password managers so convenient when online shopping is they’ll automatically autofill credit card details for you with their browser extension, without running the risk of having your details stolen by keyloggers. A keylogger is a type of malware that can be unknowingly downloaded on your devices through an entry point. When keylogging software is successfully installed on your device, it logs your keystrokes to figure out your sensitive information like credentials and credit card numbers.
2. Only make purchases through a secure Wi-Fi network
You should never use public Wi-Fi unless it’s absolutely necessary. Since public Wi-Fi is unencrypted, it means anyone can intercept the network and look at any data that is transmitted over it. If you’re planning to do online shopping, it’s best to do it from a Wi-Fi network that isn’t publicly accessible, is protected by a strong password and is secure.
3. Turn on account alerts for your credit cards
As an extra precaution, you should turn on notifications for your credit cards so the company will notify you when purchases have been made. If you were to receive a notification on a transaction you didn’t make, you can take the steps to dispute it and get a replacement card right away.
4. Always keep your software, apps and browsers up to date
Regularly updating your software, apps and browsers ensures that all security flaws are patched and new or existing features are updated. Security patches are one of the most important updates that you can make because they make it harder for cybercriminals to infiltrate your devices with malware and other viruses.
5. Double-check the website you’re purchasing from
While some websites may look legitimate, there’s alway a chance that they may have been spoofed by a cybercriminal to look like they’re legitimate. If you were to fall for a spoofed website and enter sensitive information into it, such as your credentials or credit card numbers, they can become compromised and used for malicious purposes.
According to AtlasVPN, Amazon is one of the most impersonated retail websites. Between the dates April 13, 2022 and July 12, 2022, there were a total of 1,633 spoofed Amazon websites with 897 of them still active on Prime Day – their busiest sales day. The biggest retail names are likely to have spoofed websites out there, making it important to know how to spot them before entering any sensitive information into a website. To check whether a site is spoofed, make sure to:
- Check that the URL, also known as the website address, matches what it’s supposed to be. For example, a spoofed site impersonating Amazon may look something like Amaz0n.com or Amazonn.com.
- Use Google’s Transparency Report to check if the site is safe. All you have to do is copy the URL into this report and it’ll tell you if the site is safe to use.
6. Use credit cards in your digital wallet when given the opportunity
Some retail websites will allow you to use credit cards in your digital wallet as a form of payment instead of having to manually input your credit card information. For example, some site’s support Apple Pay, which allows you to pay on a website with a card you already have in your phone’s digital wallet. All you’ll have to do is type in your passcode or use Face ID to confirm the payment. Using this type of payment method means the merchant will have no access to your card’s information at all.
Start Keeping Your Credit Cards Secure
Storing any of your sensitive information online in unencrypted locations means there’s always a risk of having the wrong person getting their hands on it. In order to keep your credit cards secure at all times, even when online shopping, it’s critical that you always keep your sensitive data stored in an encrypted vault. Along with that, you must maintain good cyber hygiene to ensure you’re protected from cyber threats.
Start keeping your credit cards secure with Keeper’s zero-knowledge encrypted password manager by starting a free 30-day trial today!