Credit cards have revolutionized the daily dimension of finance. Thanks to them, paying for any services is simple and quick as never before. Some eg internet applications and stores even encourage you to go a step further – enter your card details so that the amount is automatically taken from your account if necessary. Is it safe to provide your credit card number?
In recent years, one can observe the progressive dominance of the importance of payment cards in everyday life. Their number is increasing in Poles’ wallets. According to the statistics of the Pocketwill Bank from the end of 2013, there were 34.6 million payment cards in Poland 1. 4 years later – just over 39 million. Also the previous year 2018 was marked by a larger number of cards in circulation, recording a 1.3% increase in the first quarter of the year 3 alone. For comparison, in the last quarter of 2005 there were only 19.5 million 4.
It is no wonder then that with the increasing ubiquity of payment cards, the range of services that can be used is widening. Terminals purchase further shops, cafes, restaurants and even florists, equipment rentals and kiosks to accept card payments. Recently, the governmental program Cashless Poland is underway, which is to encourage various entrepreneurs to accept card payments.
Registering your credit card – above all convenience
It’s not everything. With the development of the internet, the popularization of smartphones and hence – mobile applications, you can increasingly meet registration forms that ask the consumer to provide their credit card number. For what? Most often to verify identity and facilitate payment for given services. Credit card users are commonly registered, eg by Uber users. After providing data during registration, after completing each journey, the application will automatically collect the payment from the account.
Convenience? Yes. However, this is just an example of the risk-free sharing of your credit card number. However, it is worth asking the general question – is it safe to provide your credit card number? Not in every case. There are situations in which behavior will be indicated to maintain basic security measures. What situations are we talking about specifically?
Protect your card details
Each credit card, as you know, has its own unique data. In addition to the expiration date, stamped in small print, the name of the owner, and the CVV code on the reverse, the primary identification factor for a credit card is its number. It always consists of 16 digits and should be protected by the owner against access by third parties during everyday use.
This is due to the fact that both the credit card number and its other data are confidential. Having access to their full content, you can freely use the card when registering it in eg Internet services mentioned in the above paragraph. Hitting a card in the wrong hands or being seen by a nosy fraudster can be extremely dangerous. In this way, he can, for example, scam various types of internet services, thus stealing funds from the consumer’s account. Of course, we are talking here about cards that have the active ability to perform online transactions and situations when they are not online purchases (where SMS verification still occurs).
Is it safe to provide your credit card number? Risky situations
It is different when a consumer decides to provide a credit card number using online services of trusted, large and proven mobile applications. Card data is usually stored by them taking into account security measures, and the funds are downloaded without much trouble. In what situations, however, providing a card number can be associated with a huge risk that you need to be aware of?
An example would be a situation in which a company unknown to us (eg a new online store) offers the option of making a purchase by entering card details. In theory, this is to encourage you to make further purchases in the same store faster and more conveniently. In practice, however, this can be a field for abuse – fraudsters can scam credit card information under the jacket of an online store.
When it comes to online stores, it’s also worth looking at whether the transaction is encrypted (eg, SSL) and has the appropriate security certificates. Otherwise, even with the good will and integrity of the store, data from the card, and thus from the bank account, may be stolen by malicious software.
Other dangerous situations
- Another common phenomenon that should be used with caution when giving credit cards is to reserve a date at a hotel (especially abroad). Websites such as trivago assume the obligation to settle accounts with the place of stay, so the client registers his data with these intermediaries – and it is completely secure. Unfortunately, there are situations in which hotels nevertheless demand the transfer of eg credit card details for settlement. This can be risky for hotels with few reviews, all the more so when we are not sure about the credibility and security of the transaction.
- Be careful when making false job advertisements. In recent years, fraudsters have become more popular, according to which they are asked to make a verification transfer or to provide a card number in order to charge such a verification fee ($ 0.01 or $ 1.00). In fact, it could be an attempted fraud. This may result in theft of your bank account details or an attempt to, for example, extort a credit or loan.
Rules for the safe use of a credit card
To sum up, it is worth presenting a few more tips on security when using a credit card.
- Always shop online through sites that use encryption (SSL).
- Make sure that your card details are not in the field of view of third parties, eg when making contactless transactions.
- Do not make purchases or register your credit card in unreliable stores and mobile applications.