What are safest ways to pay for goods and services online? As an ordinary internet user, which payment methods are dangerous to people? It important to know these things so that you don’t unknowingly loose your life savings. Let me walk you through the safe payments methods you can use online. I will also show you the ones that are less safe, and the lease safe.
When considering consumer protection, certain payment methods offer better safeguards than others. While factors like ease of use and privacy are not the main focus here, we will solely concentrate on the extent to which a payment method protects your consumer rights.
As you will see, the chance of getting your money back significantly depending on the payment method you used. Some are country-specific (like Ideal in the Netherlands and Boleto in Brazil), others are offered worldwide (like VISA, MasterCard and Paypal).
Best and Safest Ways to Make Online Payment
The safest ways to pay for goods and services online are Credit Cards, PayPal, Secure Payment Gateways, Mobile Payment Apps, Virtual Prepaid Cards, Secure Online Wallets, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA).
Meanwhile, you can take a look at some helpful guides I have previously published to help you get ready as we continue;
- How to Identify a Fake text Message or Scam Email
- How to Send Text Message to Someone Who Blocked You
- What You Need to Know About Scam SMS & Email this Year
- Prevent Yourself from Falling into Love or Charity Scam & Fraud
Recommended Safe Online Payment Methods
To be sincere, no payment method can guarantee a complete refund of your money, as there is always some level of risk involved. Situations such as non-delivery, receiving the wrong product, or damage during transportation can occur. However, the following payment methods are considered the most secure options for consumers:
1. Credit Cards
The most popular Credit card providers like Mastercard, Visa, and American Express offer consumers the option to initiate a “chargeback procedure” to request a refund.
Notwithstanding, the likelihood of the transaction being reversed depends on the specific nature of the transaction and the policies of the credit card provider.
Some providers offer a straightforward refund process with minimal questions asked, while others may have more complex and time-consuming procedures in place. Use these helpful guides below for more resource;
- How to Prevent Fraud on Credit Card with Identity Theft Detection
- Top 10 Credit Cards with No Annual Fee Debit or Service Charge
- 10 Credit Card Companies with Sign up Bonus and No Annual Fee
- How does Cash Back Credit Card Work for Account Holders?
- How to do Credit Card Balance Transfer to Another Issuer with No Fee
One particular payment solution that functions as a type of “wallet” is discussed in detail below. However, PayPal is mentioned separately due to its status as the most widely used global payment method. It provides convenient transactions and offers a certain level of protection against fraud.
It’s important to note that PayPal does not guarantee a refund in case of order-related issues. Similar to credit cards, you need to provide evidence of being scammed, and the procedures involved can be complex. See helpful resources below;
- PayPal Cashback MasterCard Login Guide by Synchrony Support
- PayPal Business Account Sign up Procedure to Access Paypal Login
- Create a PayPal Account for Personal and Business Transactions to Send & Receive Money
1. Payment After Delivery
Cash on Delivery (COD) is a widely used option for online purchases, particularly in developing countries. Various companies, such as AliPay, Afterpay, and Klarna, provide similar online services where the money is transferred only after you have received the goods.
These payment methods offer a relatively secure approach since the funds remain in a third-party account until you confirm satisfaction with the received goods or services. However, not all merchants offer this payment method as it places the risk on them, and it can be costly for online stores to implement.
Less Safe Payment Methods
While there are payment methods that offer better consumer protection, it’s important to be aware of less secure options as well. These payment methods may have limited or no built-in protections, leaving consumers more vulnerable to potential risks.
It’s important to exercise caution and carefully consider the level of security provided by these methods before proceeding with transactions. Let’s take a look at some of the payment methods that may be considered less safe in terms of consumer protection.
1. Debit Cards
In a debit card transaction, the payment amount is deducted directly from your bank account. This differs from most credit card transactions, where you essentially borrow money from the credit card company to pay the vendor. In many cases, the payment is promptly transferred to the recipient’s bank account.
Debit cards now offer a chargeback facility, but if the recipient quickly withdraws the funds, it becomes unlikely that the debit card company or bank will reimburse you. Typically, they will only consider returning your money if you can provide evidence of unauthorized transactions resulting from your account being misused or hacked.
2. Digital or e-Wallets
A wide range of digital wallets are available from both large and small companies. Some popular examples include Venmo, Apple Pay, Baidu Wallet, PayPal, Google Wallet, Payoneer, and Skrill. One significant advantage of using e-wallets is that you cannot spend more money than you have deposited into them (unless they are linked to your credit card or bank account).
However, the level of consumer protection offered varies based on the policies of each e-wallet provider. When compared to credit cards and PayPal, it may be more challenging to obtain a refund if a payment was made using an e-wallet.
3. Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
The UPI, or Unified Payments Interface, is a user-friendly payment system that facilitates convenient bank transfers. Numerous payment applications, such as GPay, Amazon Pay, and PayTM, along with payment portals like Citrus, RazorPay, and UPay, have incorporated UPI into their services.
When making a payment through UPI, the funds are transferred either directly to the recipient’s bank account or through an intermediary. In case of a need for reversal, UPI payments can be reversed by contacting the intermediary, such as the customer support of GPay or Amazon Pay. The process for reversing a UPI payment is similar to reversing a transaction made with a debit card.
Least Safe Payment Methods
When it comes to financial transactions, ensuring the safety and security of our money is of utmost importance. However, there are certain payment methods that are considered to be the least safe, exposing users to various risks.
These methods often lack robust security measures, making them vulnerable to fraudulent activities such as unauthorized access, identity theft, and financial scams.
Please note that it is better for consumers to be aware of these least safe payment methods and take necessary precautions to protect their financial information and avoid potential risks.
Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.)
The online landscape is filled with a multitude of digital currencies, constantly expanding with the introduction of new ones. While these payment methods offer a significant level of privacy, they often lack the option for refunds or recourse in case of issues.
These types of payment methods are commonly associated with adult, dating, or gambling websites, taking advantage of their secretive nature. It is important to note that no store or service should enforce the use of such payment methods, and any website that insists on cryptocurrency payments should be approached with caution as it may raise suspicions.
There is a guide for you to know if Stolen Cryptocurrency Funds can be recovered from online scammers.
In the case of direct bank transfers, money is transferred directly from your bank account to the recipient’s account. However, if any issues arise during the transaction, only a few banks provide reimbursement, and the onus is on you to demonstrate that you have fallen victim to a scam.
Banks typically follow a verification procedure to ensure that the recipient’s bank account is legitimate, which may involve investigating potential involvement in money laundering or criminal activities. This verification process can be time-consuming and may take several weeks. Unlike debit card transactions, net banking transactions do not offer a chargeback facility, further emphasizing the importance of cautious and secure financial transactions.
Electronic Money Transfer
Electronic money transfer services, such as Moneygram or Western Union, present similar challenges as bank transfers, but with intensified risks. In these services, the recipient has the option to physically withdraw the transferred funds from a local store.
As a result, reversing these transactions becomes virtually impossible since the payments are made using tangible cash. These organizations often decline to assume responsibility for any issues that may arise and are unlikely to offer reimbursement. It is crucial to exercise caution when using such services and be aware of the potential limitations and risks associated with them.
Various scams, including tech-support scams, often require payments to be made using gift cards. These types of cards do not store any user credentials and can be used both online and offline, providing convenience for users. However, the drawback is that they offer no protection once the physical cards or digital codes have been shared with someone else.
Once the gift card information is disclosed, scammers can easily redeem the funds without any recourse for the victim. It is essential to exercise caution and refrain from sharing gift card details with unknown or untrusted individuals to avoid falling victim to scams.
- How To Sell Gift Cards Online For Cash in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa
- McDonald’s Rewards Points to Redeem Free Food and Drinks
List of the Safest Ways to Make Payments Online
Here are some of the safest ways to make payments online:
- Credit Cards: Major credit card companies offer comprehensive fraud protection measures and provide chargeback
- PayPal: PayPal is a widely accepted online payment platform that offers secure transactions, buyer protection, and the ability to link your payment to a credit card or bank account.
- Secure Payment Gateways: Using secure payment gateways, such as Stripe or Braintree, ensures encrypted and protected transactions, reducing the risk of sensitive information being compromised.
- Mobile Payment Apps: Trusted mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay use tokenization and biometric authentication for secure transactions.
- Virtual Prepaid Cards: Virtual prepaid cards, like those offered by companies such as Entropay or Revolut, allow you to create temporary card numbers for online purchases, minimizing the risk of your actual card details being exposed.
- Secure Online Wallets: Utilizing secure online wallets, such as LastPass or Dashlane, enables you to securely store payment information and facilitate quick, encrypted transactions.
- Trusted Online Retailers: Shopping with well-established and reputable online retailers provides an additional layer of security, as they often have advanced security measures and buyer protection policies in place.
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enabling 2FA adds an extra layer of security to your online payment accounts, requiring a second verification step, such as a code sent to your mobile device, to authorize transactions.
In summary, the most consumer-friendly payment methods are credit cards offered by major companies, as well as platforms like PayPal and Cash on Delivery. These methods provide a higher level of consumer protection and often offer streamlined processes for refunds or dispute resolution.
On the other hand, with alternative payment methods, such as bank transfers or digital currencies, it is still possible to retrieve your money, but it typically involves lengthy procedures that require multiple verifications. Therefore, it is advisable to choose the payment methods that offer the most straightforward and reliable avenues for securing refunds or resolving payment issues.
Please remember, it’s essential to keep your devices and software up to date, use strong and unique passwords, and be cautious while sharing personal and financial information online to ensure a safe online payment experience.
If you have been scammed and need to know how you can get your money back, please visit the page How to Get Your Money Back From a Scam
Learn about the different kinds of scams on the page Types of Scams.