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How to use a credit card for online shopping

As online shopping gets increasingly popular, consumers may wonder whether using a credit card online is safe. While credit cards offer benefits—such as fraud protection—there are additional steps you can take to protect yourself from possible theft. In this article, you will learn:

  • How to pay online with a credit card
  • How to safely use your credit card online
  • The many benefits that come with using your credit card to shop online

How to pay online with a credit card

There are a number of standard steps you will need to complete in order to make an online purchase with your credit card:

Ensure the website is secure

When you go to make a purchase online, be sure that you're buying from a secure website. Most secure sites include “https" in the URL. You will also want to make sure you are connected to a secure network and not a public one, as someone could obtain your credit card information by accessing your traffic.

Select the items you want to buy

As you navigate through a shopping site, you'll have the opportunity to add the items you want to a cart.

Go to the checkout page

When you finish selecting the items you want to buy, you can usually continue checking out by clicking on “view cart" or “check out."

Enter your personal information

You'll need to enter your first name, your last name, and your shipping address. If you saved any of your personal information during a previous visit to the site, verify that your saved details are correct.

Choose "credit card" as your payment method

Most sites have several options for payment, including gift cards, debit cards and credit cards. To complete your purchase with a credit card, select “credit card" as your payment method.

Enter your payment information and billing address

For the merchant to process your credit card payment, you'll need to enter your credit card number, expiration date and security code (typically found on the backside of your credit card). You'll also need to enter your billing address. Some of this information may be saved from a previous visit to the site.

Confirm your payment

Most shopping sites will ask you to confirm your payment one more time after you enter your information. You may also be asked to provide your email, where you can receive digital receipts or tracking numbers to monitor your shipments.

How to safely use a credit card online

Using credit cards to shop online offers many benefits to consumers, including fraud protection. However, it's important that you take extra measures to protect yourself from unsecure websites to fully avoid fraud and online theft. There are a variety of ways someone could obtain your credit card information—like accessing your traffic through open Wi-Fi hotspots (sometimes referred to as "rogue hotspots"), collecting information and putting malware onto your device.

Remember these effective strategies for using your credit card safely online:

  • Make your purchases on your own device, not a public one, such as a community library or on a shared work computer.
  • Share your credit card and personal information with secure sites only. Avoid websites that appear to be “sketchy" or ask for even more information, such as your social security number.
  • Be sure you are using a private, secure network or Wi-Fi, not a public one.
  • Use a strong password to save your credit card information. Your browser may want to try and save your credit card information to help populate the forms, but securing this information with a password manager is much safer than saving it on the site.
  • Keep track of your latest transactions to ensure there hasn't been fraudulent activity. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, or think your card has been compromised, call your credit card issuer and inform them as soon as you can.

Benefits of online shopping with a credit card

There are many benefits to using your credit card for online shopping. From earning rewards to protections that cover accidental damage, credit cards come with many perks over other purchasing methods.

Earn rewards from your spending

Many credit cards award points for every dollar you spend. Credit card rewards points can often be exchanged for gift cards, cash back, merchandise and travel. Some credit cards offer bonus points in certain categories or at specific retailers, and these usually change throughout the year. Using a credit card during a bonus period for a particular online merchant can make shopping online even more rewarding.

Feel secure with purchase protection

Many of us have had the misfortune of accidentally breaking a fragile item we just bought. Some credit cards offer purchase protection, which covers accidental damage to purchases within a specified timeframe (typically 90 days). Some purchase protection plans may cover theft as well as damage. The purchase protection plan will pay for you to repair or replace the item up to the cost of the original purchase.

Buy confidently with price protection

If you've ever hesitated to buy something because you're sure it will go on sale in a few weeks, price protection can help. This is a benefit some cards offer that reimburses you for the difference between the price you pay and a lower sale price that is advertised in a specified time period.

Extend your warranty

Some credit cards cover items for a period of time after the manufacturer's warranty ends. If an item breaks after the manufacturer's warranty ends, the extended warranty program will usually reimburse you for repairs or replacement up to the original cost of the item.

Protect yourself against fraudulent use

Most credit cards offer full protection against theft and fraudulent use, so you won't be responsible for any unauthorized charges on your credit card. U.S. law limits liability for fraudulent purchases to $50, but most credit card issuers don't hold you liable for any fraudulent charges at all.

Build good credit history

Using a credit card and paying off the balance every month can increase your credit score by showing a good use of credit. Keeping your balance to 30% or less of your total available credit is a big factor in improving your score.

What is the best credit card for shopping online?

When considering which credit card to use for online shopping, you'll want to look for one that offers benefits and features that match your spending habits and lifestyle.

Chase credit cards are great for online shopping. Every card comes with fraud protection, so you don't have to worry about unauthorized purchases online. Several cards offer a bonus for signing up, and some cards offer purchase protection and extended warranty. Overall, credit cards offer a sense of security and provide plenty of benefits and when it comes to shopping online.

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