Your credit card can help you make purchases quickly without needing to have cash on hand. Follow these tips to use your credit card safely:
1. Don’t share your card with anyone
If you’re in a rush, it may be tempting to pass your card to a friend to handle a transaction quickly. Once the card is out of your sight, you don’t know what may happen to it. It could be used to make a purchase you haven’t approved, or it could be lost or stolen when it’s out of your hands.
2. Protect your personal identification number (PIN)
Entering a PIN is often required when making a purchase with a credit card. Don’t let anyone see your PIN when you enter it into a card reader or ATM. Choose a number you can remember and don’t carry any record of it in your wallet.
3. Keep your eyes on your card
When you use your credit card in a restaurant or store, be sure you can see it the whole time. If the server or cashier asks to bring your card to the payment machine in a different spot, ask to come with them rather than hand over your card. Some scammers try to make copies of credit cards this way.
4. Protect your card information over the phone
Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you initiated the call, and you know you are dealing with a legitimate business.
5. Always check your receipts and your monthly statement
If you can, check your receipt before you leave the store. Make sure the items on the receipt are accurate. If something is wrong, you can request a refund or correction before you leave the store.
You can easily see your credit card purchases on your monthly statement or in your online account. Make sure all the charges on your statement are yours. If you find something wrong, notify the card issuer right away.
6. Shred statements and receipts
Once you’ve paid your monthly credit card bill, you may not need to keep your statement. Paper records of your credit card number and your transactions shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s best to shred them once you no longer need them.
An even better step is to sign up for online statements if you haven’t made the switch yet from paper. This will probably also save you a little money each month, since most banks now charge for paper statements.
7. Know who to call if your card is stolen
It sounds obvious, but if your credit card is stolen, you won’t be able to see the contact information on the back of the card. It’s a good idea to write down that contact information in case you need it. Or try to ensure you know where to find that information online so you can report a lost or stolen credit card immediately. Keep this list in a safe place and don’t share it with anyone.
Remember: don’t write down your PIN number. If your card is stolen, report it right away.
Choosing a PIN
When choosing your PIN, avoid choosing numbers related to your birth date, phone number, social insurance number or family names. If someone steals your wallet, they may find that information and guess your PIN.
8. Be cautious when shopping online
Only enter your credit card number on secure websites that you know are legitimate. Don’t allow the site to keep your credit card information on file.
9. Avoid using autofill for credit card information
While it may be tedious to enter your credit card number each time you buy something online, it can be a safer step than using autofill. Consider what could happen if your autofill credit card information is on a device that gets stolen. Also, if you shop online, remember to make sure your computer or phone is secure with solid virus protection, strong passwords and use avoid using public wifi such as in cafes or airports.
10. Protect your security code on the back of your card
To complete a purchase, you may be asked for the three-digit CVV number on the back of your card. This security code helps validate you have the credit card in your possession, and the account is legitimate. Scammers may try to get you to provide your
security code over the phone. They may call and say will say they’re with your credit card company and are calling about a suspicious purchase on your card. Do not provide your security number to anyone who calls you.
11. Sign your card
Technological advances make it possible to tap your card to make a purchase and so technically you don’t sign to buy something using your credit card. But it’s still a good idea to sign the back of your credit card. An unsigned card may be considered invalid, and merchants can still ask you for a signature.
Remember these key tips to protect your card:
- Don’t share your card with anyone
- Protect your PIN
- Keep your card visible when you use it
- Protect your credit card number
- Check your receipts and statements
- Shred your receipts and statements once you no longer need them
- Know who to call if your card is stolen
- Be cautious when shopping online
- Avoid using autofill for credit card information
- Protect your security code on the back of your card
- Sign the back of your card