Online shopping is very common, and so are these missteps that you can be making without noticing. Are you losing money?
Online shopping is part of our daily lives and it certainly makes things a lot easier, especially now that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. However, we are so used to it that we do it automatically, without paying much attention to the process. This is the reason why there are some common mistakes we all make and that can cost money.
1- Paying with a debit card
For budget reasons, a debit card can be a safe way of keeping track of your money and avoid overspending. But overall, credit cards are safer. If you use a debit card to shop online, the money will leave your account the minute you checkout. This is generally ok if you make the purchase, but it is also a point of vulnerability.
If someone accesses that information, they can drain your checking account instantly. This does not happen with a credit card, as you are not responsible for paying for the fraudulent transactions, at least while the credit card issuer investigates.
2- Passing up cashback
There are a lot of ways in which you can get paid for shopping. For example, you can get cash rebates using apps like Ibotta or cash-back sites like Rakuten or Swagbucks Shop. You can also get cashback if you pay with a cashback credit card. You should also monitor the retailer’s reward programs to get more value for your money.
3- Falling for a fake discount
It is really hard to resist a discounted price, especially because of the way retailers usually show it: a huge slashed red number and a new number that is way lower —jackpot! Unfortunately, the one thing you need to ask yourself is “where did that original price come from?” Some products don’t have a list price, so the site could just make one up, and then show it discounted at another made-up price.
A good way of avoiding this is by comparing the item in different web sites and see what the average price is.
4- Using a public Wi-Fi connection
It is strongly recommended to avoid using public connections to make online purchases. Instead, wait until you can connect to a private (and secured) network. According to Symantec Corp, the company behind Norton Anti-virus and other security software, “shopping doesn’t seem like it involves sensitive data, but making purchases online requires personal information that could include bank account and retailer login credentials. Shopping isn’t something you want to do on an unsecured Wi-Fi network.”