Whether you’re gearing up for your holiday shopping, you’re planning birthday presents in advance, or you’re treating yourself to a little shopping spree, chances are at some point you are going to be doing a bit of your shopping online. Most major businesses have a pretty strong Internet presence, and there are some businesses that only operate online. This shift to a more connected and virtual world over the last few decades has led to the increase of online shopping.
Online shopping is often much more convenient and efficient, as the customer has quick access to countless different brands and stores, all with a few clicks of the mouse, and from the comfort of home on top of that. However the unfortunate aspect of online shopping is that there is also an increased risk of credit card and identity fraud.
Taking care to protect yourself online
Yes, it can be tempting to use your credit or debit card at every website that pops up with something you could envision having in your life. But it is important to check for secure payment systems before entering your card information. Different websites have different payment processing services, but if something seems off about your payment, it is better to be safe than sorry. For your protection, call the company directly, or first look up reviews and seek advice from individuals who have had experience with the company in question.
A card not present transaction process, which is one that the does not involve the merchant seeing or handling the card for payment and thus defines every online transaction, are often prime cases for mistakes to be made or fraud attempts to occur. It is a good idea to only use your bank information or other personal data when you are working on a private computer, if at all possible, and if you do have to use a public computer, double check that you have logged out of any account pages, and clear the history and cookies before leaving.
The future of business
Buying online is not a bad thing. In fact it is a quickly growing trend, and as technology develops, we may just see more and more development of cyber shopping, to the point that it surpasses brick and mortar business. Many websites and businesses will often have incentives or promotions that encourage consumers to buy expensive products or bulk products online. Add to those the convenience of clicking instead of carting objects around in the store, and consumers will often end up spending quite a bit. On average, a shopper in the United States will spend about $78 for an order when they shop online.
During the busiest shopping weekend of the year, all the way from Thanksgiving Day on Thursday to Giving Tuesday, the projections for growth from one year to the next were more or less as expected, with the exception of Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday saw a 17% growth from one year to the next, reaching nearly $1.5 billion in sales. Buying online can be successful and safe, as long as you are smart and diligent in how you do so.
As the trends shift and change and grow, it seems safe to say that cyber shopping is not going anywhere anytime soon. And it is not just computers by now. Across the United States, about half of online buyers will be making mobile payments for their new purchases. In attempts to avoid being pulled into the card fraud that ends up costing over $8 billion each year, protect your information and take the time to examine each website where you are thinking about spending money.