Why is your credit card never safe?

How do I pay securely with a credit card on the Internet?

Do you often pay for online purchases by credit card? Do you often book hotels or flights online with your Visa, Mastercard or Amex card? Then there are some crucial safety measures you should take. There are also many other things you should know about paying online. In this guide we will show you how you can pay securely and cheaply on the Internet.

+++ UPDATE (07/2020): This is how (safely) the Germans pay online +++

According to the EHI study "Online Payment 2020" Germans prefer to pay by invoice on the Internet (32.8 percent; + 1.5 percentage points more than in the previous year). PayPal follows in second place with 20.2 percent (+ 0.7 percentage points). 18.3 percent of those surveyed use the (rather insecure) direct debit method when shopping online (- 1.2 percentage points). In fourth place is the credit card with 10.5 percent. Other payment methods such as prepayment, instant transfers or cash on delivery hardly play a role.

Good to know: With PayPal, users can not only store current accounts, but also credit cards for payment.

Around two thirds of Germans are concerned that they Credit card fraud victim according to Statista. But this has never happened to 93 percent of those surveyed.

There are now more than 40 million credit cards in circulation in Germany (Status: 07/2020). The consumption and media analysis (VuMA) 2020 showed that 24.8 percent of the German respondents have a Mastercard credit card. At 24.2, the Visa share is almost the same. 4.1 percent of the study participants have an American Express (Amex) credit card. Barclaycard has a share of 1.5 percent and Diners Club only 0.6 percent. 7.4 percent of the participants have "other credit cards".

By the way: At the end of this text there is an interesting credit card infographic.

+++ end of update +++

What to watch out for online by credit card

Use only secure computers

Before you even think about making an online purchase with your credit card, consider yours Check your computer before making an internet payment. It is advisable to have the computer checked using a virus scanner. In addition, you should make sure that you only pay with your credit card on private computers. The security of your credit card data cannot always be guaranteed on public computers. This is due to the fact that several people have access to this computer.

A certain degree of caution is also required when making payments by smartphone. Again, you should do a security check before proceeding with any payment with your credit card. That may all sound like a lot of work. But it's worth it. Investing a few minutes to ensure your payment is secure is definitely worth the effort.

Only buy from trustworthy shops

That is at least as important Choosing a trustworthy shop. It is best to never order from shops that appear dubious to you. Even a strange looking website should worry you. For example, watch out for spelling mistakes. Online fraudsters from abroad are sometimes at work who do not have the websites translated professionally. When choosing a provider, it is best to look at different seals of approval and customer ratings. If you don't know a shop, it is worth doing a quick Google search. You can also find out whether the respective shop is reputable or not with a look at the imprint or the general terms and conditions.

Also make sure that your chosen shop is the real website. Even large and well-known shops have had to deal with attacks on their own identity. In this case, scammers simply copy the provider's website and basically make it look the same. The only difference: Instead of selling something, only payment data should be collected.

So that you can shop securely on the Internet with your credit card, you should first use the Check the web address of the shop. Pay particular attention to typing errors. If you are unsure, we recommend doing a Google search again. Basically, you should always invest too much rather than too little time to check the seriousness of a website.

Pay attention to the SSL encryption when shopping

Have you never heard of the term “Secure Socket Layer”? No problem, most consumers do. But the acronym SSL is much more important. The so-called SSL encryption guarantees you the highest level of security when shopping on the Internet. If this is the case, nobody can access the data flow from your PC to the shop. If, on the other hand, there is no SSL encryption, third parties can theoretically also access the data. But how do you actually find out whether there is such an encryption? This can be seen quite easily from the browser line. There you should pay attention to two different aspects.



On the one hand, the web address itself is relevant. You can recognize SSL encryption here by the fact that it begins with "https: //" (marked yellow in the graphic). Above all, the delimitation is important here. Because on many websites the beginning of the address is still "http: //". The decisive factor here is the small "s" at the end. This guarantees you security when paying with your credit card on the Internet. In addition, if SSL encryption is active, you will see a lock to the left of the web address (marked in red in the graphic). Make sure this lock is closed. The lock is often shown open when you are on a page with simple "http: //" encryption.

What mistakes can I make when paying on the Internet?

If you are shopping on the Internet for the first time, you should not only check the reliability of the shop and website. When paying by credit card on the Internet, you should also ensure that you do not fall for the tricks of fraudsters. The most important tip: Never give out your credit card information via email or short message service. Of course, this applies above all to so-called phishing e-mails: In these you will be asked to submit your credit card details for a payment. It is best to delete this type of email immediately and mark it as spam. Remember that an online store would never email you to ask for credit card information.

But you should also be careful if you want to give your credit cards to friends or family members. While that out Security reasons is not recommended in principle, the data should never be transmitted exclusively via the Internet. It is best to divide a transmission of the data over several channels. Ideally, you submit the data personally. However, there is always a certain risk when you hand over your own credit card details.

Another common mistake when paying with credit cards on the Internet is entering the PIN. In general, make sure that such data is not required for online payments. If you are asked for your PIN when making an internet payment, the alarm bells should start ringing. It is therefore imperative that you never enter your PIN when making a payment on the Internet. The PIN is only required for verification for payments in retail stores and at ATMs. Your payment will be verified by other means on the Internet. Therefore, never give your PIN to third parties.

Is the credit card a good payment option on the Internet?

Which payment options do I have to choose from?

So that you can shop securely on the Internet with your credit card, you should first of all memorize the usual payment process on the Internet. As soon as you have selected your products in an online shop, you usually enter your personal data. You will then be forwarded to an overview of the payment methods. At least three of the following payment options are usually available to you:

The credit card offers itself as a payment option. Because it combines a fast transaction with a high level of security. If you pay with your credit card, the goods are usually dispatched the next day at the latest. This is because the merchant has an immediate guarantee of payment. If, on the other hand, you decide to pay in advance or by direct debit, the entire process usually takes longer.

How can I pay for travel bookings?

If, on the other hand, you book a trip, you usually have significantly fewer payment options. With some providers, you can even only pay by credit card. Otherwise, payment by direct debit or PayPal is often available.

If you often book trips on the Internet, a credit card is particularly useful. However, you should also make sure that you only pay with your credit card at reputable travel agents. This is especially true if the website is registered abroad.

Why is the credit card a secure payment option?

You may be wondering why you should pay with your credit card on the internet? This is due to the high level of security for you as a consumer. In general, with a credit card you have buyer protection in most cases. In concrete terms, this means that you can get your money back if the service you paid for was not provided.

This applies, for example, if a retailer has not delivered the ordered goods or the travel service is not provided. In such a case, you can use the so-called "Chargeback“Benefit from your credit card. To do this, you need to contact your bank and describe the case in detail. If you can properly prove the fraud, your money will be refunded. Incidentally, the “chargeback” works easiest with American Express, since the credit card bank is particularly consumer-friendly and supports its customers in most cases.

How does a credit card payment work on the Internet?

How do I get paid at all?

If you have entered your personal data on a website, you can usually use the choose payment method. If you decide to pay by credit card, there are usually two possible scenarios. Either you stay on the website of the merchant and enter the credit card details there directly (pay attention to the https: // encryption and the other tips mentioned above).

Alternatively you will also be redirected to another website where you have to enter your details. This is often the case when merchants do not have the necessary security structure to process credit card data. They then forward the customers to a third party for payment. This in itself is not relevant to you. However, you should also pay attention to the reliability and encryption of the website when forwarding. You should only enter your details when you are sure that everything is in order.

What data do I have to enter for payment?

But what exactly do you have to enter if you want to pay on the Internet? In principle, the following data can be requested:

  • Credit card number (for every payment on the Internet)
  • Expiry date (for every payment on the Internet)
  • CVC or CVV number (for most online payments)
  • Name of the credit card holder (for some online payments)
  • Billing address of the credit card holder (for some payments on the Internet

The credit card number and the expiry date of your credit card can always be found on the front. In most cases, the credit card number has either 15 (American Express) or 16 (Visa and MasterCard) digits. The expiry date is usually printed in MM / YY format. When entering the date, make sure that you do not accidentally enter the issue date, which is also found on some credit cards.

Chances are you've never heard of the terms CVC and CVV. It is a security number that has been around on credit cards for a number of years to make online payments more secure. Basically this is a number on your card. Please do not confuse this number with your PIN. You never have to enter this when making payments on the Internet. The CVC or CVV number has either three or four digits, depending on the provider.

In some cases, you must also provide the name of the credit card holder and the billing address when paying with German retailers. This is usually necessary when you shop abroad.

Do I need further verification for my payment?

As soon as you have entered all the data, you can complete the payment. In some cases, however, there is a second security procedure: The verification via the so-called 3D secure process. Your bank will decide whether or not to use the method for the respective payment. The 3DSecure procedure is a further level of security when making payments on the Internet. In this case, you will usually be redirected to the Visa or Mastercard website.

When you are first faced with the procedure, you will usually be asked to enter in a safe environment password and define a welcome text. The greeting text should ideally not give any reference to the password. As soon as you have set a password, you have to enter it every time the 3D Secure process is used. It is a "PIN for the Internet". At many credit card banks, verification now works via an SMS PIN. You will receive an SMS with a PIN if the 3DSecure procedure is used. You then have to enter this in the field provided to confirm the payment. This system is to be used for all credit cards in the medium term.

By the 3DSecure process prevents other people from making purchases or bookings with your credit card in the event of theft. When the 3DSecure process will be used is not communicated publicly. Rather, it is a randomized system. In general, the 3D Secure procedure is used for credit card payments on the Internet, but is almost always used for larger sums. So you can count on even more security when paying with your credit card on the Internet.

Actually it should Two-factor authentication (2FA) have been introduced across the board since September 2019. However, the start has been delayed.

Is online payment by credit card recommended?

The flexibility of the credit card sets it apart from other means of payment. There is no other means of payment that allows you to pay so securely and easily on the Internet and in shops. In addition, credit cards offer a high level of security on the Internet.

Once you have memorized the important security precautions, you shouldn't have any problems with credit card payments on the Internet. Instead, you can look forward to safe and uncomplicated online shopping.

Credit card infographic


(via Onlinebanken.com)

Image sources:

Woman in front of laptop: Racorn | Dreamstime.com
EHI graphic: ehi.org
Update: pixabay.com | OpenClipart Vectors
Castle: typographyimages / pixabay.com
URL: pay.de
Hacker in front of a laptop: Paulus Rusyanto | Dreamstime.com
Collage with DKK & lock: TheDigitalArtist / pixabay.com
Keyboard: pixabay.com - geralt
Visa in suitcase: Business Wire / Visa
Couple in front of laptop: Denis Raev | Dreamstime.com
Online shopping: Stokkete | Dreamstime.com
Sample credit card: Deutsche Postbank AG
VISA Logo: VISA Europe
Infographic: onlinebanken.com

  • Mastercard online account

    Debit Mastercard with online account without Schufa - opened immediately and usable worldwide (pay and withdraw money).

    More info