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Using your payment card online

The UK Cards Association figures show that the number of adults shopping online has increased dramatically in the last few years. In 2011, 37.6 million adults used plastic cards to purchase goods and services over the internet, equating to 75% of the adult population.

While the internet allows you to shop with ease and efficiency, it also presents opportunities for fraudsters. The amount of card fraud that took place over the internet decreased 24% from £46.6 million in 2010, to £35.4 million in 2011. Online banking is a safe and secure way for consumers to access their card and bank accounts, and the chances of becoming a victim of online banking fraud are very low. However, criminals continue to target online banking customers through phishing and spyware scams because the banks’ own systems have proved difficult to attack. In this page we detail the steps you can take to minimise your chances of becoming a victim of online fraud.

American Express SafeKey, MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa

These are secure online payment systems that allow you to register a password with your card company. Signing-up gives you extra protection as fraudsters are unable to use your card details at participating shopping sites, as they will not know your password. The sign-up process is quick and easy; you do not require a new card, nor do you need to download additional software. More information is available from Financial Fraud Action UK

Anti-Virus software

Be sure that your computer, or any computer where you input your banking details has an up-to-date anti-virus installed. If you are unsure where to begin with getting an anti-virus for your computer, search for ‘anti-virus software’ in your search engine.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act

If you use a credit card to buy goods or services costing more than £100, but less than £30,000, you will have extra protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This states that should a problem subsequently arise, such as the company going out of business, you can claim your money back from your credit card company. This extra protection is especially advantageous when shopping online – where it can be difficult to establish whether a retailer is reputable. See the section on Your rights and responsibilities for more information.

Further Information

Information about shopping safely online can be found from Financial Fraud Action UK.

If you find you have become a victim of card fraud, you should report it to your card company immediately. Under the terms of the lending code, as long as you haven’t acted fraudulently or negligently you will be fully refunded by your card issuer.

If you would like additional information, or if you have a question about card fraud or about safe online shopping or banking, please visit the following websites:

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