If you don’t like using your credit card online, there’s another option

By | August 15, 2022
This content is 2 years old. Please, read this page keeping its age in mind. Thank you.

I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of my shopping online these days. It was a habit I got into when I lived in the middle of nowhere, and I do it even more since lockdown. It’s just so convenient.

But I know some people are nervous about shopping online, because they don’t like to give out their credit card details over the internet. One option if you don’t like giving your card details to all and sundry is a PayPal account. With one of those, you give all your details once to PayPal (which is a very secure system), then any payments you want to make online go through them.

There’s another alternative you might want to consider, though, and that’s a prepaid payment card. They give you a physical card that can be used in shops, and even taken abroad with you, so they’re not just for making payments online. They’re a great way to limit the damage from online fraud, theft or losing your card.

The way they work is that you transfer money from your bank account to the card – a bit like a pay as you go mobile phone – then you can spend that money just like you’d use a credit or debit card. If someone managed to steal your card details, all they could do is spend the money on the card. They couldn’t run a huge bill. It would be just like them stealing cash – not nice, but not as potentially harmful as credit card fraud.

And a big advantage of a prepaid card over cash is that you can freeze or cancel the card if it goes missing or you think the details might have been stolen – just like with any standard credit or debit card. Which limits the damage even further.

There are quite a few companies that offer prepaid cards, and most of them work through the MasterCard or Visa systems. MasterCard and Visa prepaid cards are accepted pretty much everywhere.

There’s also a big range of costs. For a lot of these cards, you need to pay a monthly fee. Others are completely free, but charge you for specific services, like taking cash out of a cash machine. If you’re just wanting to use one for occasional online shopping, then you’re probably best off with a free one. I can’t compare all your options here, because there are so many, but if you want to give one a go I suggest you try a comparison site like MoneySupermarket.

Different cards are best for different things, so it’s not just about looking for the cheapest. For example, my sister uses a “Currensea” card when she goes abroad – it’s more secure than cash, easier than traveller’s cheques and safer than taking her UK credit card with her. Some, like the “Revolut” account have lots of extra features as well as the card – they even give you single-use card numbers for paying online to reduce the risk even further – but they can be more complicated to set up and use.

So it’s horses for courses really.

That’s all from me for this week.

Leave a Reply

The name you enter will be displayed. We collect your email address but do not display it. Full privacy policy here. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.