In many ways, your credit card is your lifeline. Maybe you keep it on reserve for emergencies. Or perhaps you use it monthly to pay bills and build your credit score.
But, no matter how you use your credit card and whether you realize it or not, it is, in fact, your lifeline because it’s tied directly to your identity. And, that’s why it’s so important to learn how to protect your credit card information.
The good news is that your credit card already has credit card protection against fraudulent purchases. The better news is that with the following tips, you can safeguard your credit card and your identity from the criminals trying to get a hold of it.
Keep reading to learn more.
10 Essential Credit Card Protection Tips
Especially if you do a lot of shopping with your credit card, online or otherwise, it becomes more vulnerable to thieves. It’s important to be completely aware of the people surrounding you when using your card in public. Also, take precautionary measures when shopping online to save yourself a lot of headaches.
Here are some other things to keep in mind about your credit card usage.
Be Careful With Receipts
If you’re someone that likes saving money, you probably save receipts for tax season. Good work! But, make sure you’re keeping them in a safe place with your other financial records and shred the ones you don’t need.
You should save some receipts temporarily as you check them against your billing statements to ensure that all the amounts add up correctly. This goes especially for receipts with tip options.
Make sure you also cross a line through any space on receipts where additional charges could be written in.
Keep Your Information up to Date
One of the most overlooked security measures you can take is simply keeping your information up to date with your financial institution.
Make sure that your phone number and email address are on file so your credit card issuer can contact you if they notice fraudulent behavior. Notify your credit cards company when you move to be sure your statements and other information follow you and not the new tenant or homeowner.
Check Your Accounts Often
Checking your account activity often is crucial to preserving your credit card safety. Consider logging in or calling at least once per week to ensure that you’re aware of all charges processing on your card. You may also consider signing up for text and email alerts about unusual activity.
Practice Credit Card Security Measures
When you receive a new credit card in the mail, you should always review the section about ‘my card security’. These instructions are fundamental for credit card protection from the get-go.
Report Lost Cards or Suspected Fraud Immediately
The first step for credit card fraud protection is to contact your credit card issuer immediately after you notice fraudulent activity on your account. United States law protects your account as long as your report the activity right away.
Once you contact your credit card issuer, they will put a hold on your account to prevent it from being used further. They will also send you a new card with a new account number.
Keep Your Account Numbers Private
Do not share your account number with anyone over the phone. Consider signing up for paperless statements to prevent your information from traveling through the mail system. You can also make payments online. Shred all documents that contain personal information before throwing it away.
Keep Passwords Secret
This may seem like a no brainer but it can be easy to create a password that others can figure out. Make sure you use at least two numbers and one special character as well as a capital letter in your password. Don’t make it easy to guess such as family members’ names or birthdays.
Change your passwords often and choose different passwords for separate accounts. Avoid using similar passwords for other sites online.
Protect Yourself Online
Perhaps the most important credit card safety measures should be followed online. Don’t shop with businesses online that do not have an ‘https’ in their web link. The ‘s’ stands for secure.
Always thoroughly read through policies about how your payment is processed and any additional terms like refunds, returns, and shipping. Keep copies of all of your receipts and confirmation codes.
Secure Devices and Networks
When using your credit card online, you should only be using a trusted computer or mobile device. These devices should be protected with a firewall that is password protected.
Make sure to complete any updates to your devices as soon as possible to ensure your security updates are in place. You can also install security software like an anti-virus.
Enroll in Credit Card Protection
This page details some of the best credit cards that offer protection services. Some of those services include fraud protection, purchase protection, price protection, return protection, and travel and rental car insurance. Some credit cards charge for additional services while others off them complimentarily.
It’s also important to be aware of credit card scammers. These criminals may try to contact you via phone or email claiming to be your credit card company for various reasons. They will ask you to confirm your personal and credit card information which they will use to steal your identity.
Only discuss your personal information with your credit card company, bank, or other financial institutions after you’ve initiated the call.
Most of these credit card protection tips are basically common sense steps that you can follow to ensure that you don’t fall victim to fraud. May this reminder serve you well throughout your financial future so you don’t have to worry.