When shopping online security is important. Both buyers and perpetrators know this is where the money is. Preliminary figures show 2019 e-commerce sales gaining an increase of 20.7% over 2018. This is a total of $3.535 trillion for the period. Most criminals will go to where the money is and robbing someone online doesn’t require any face to face interaction.

Every time you use a credit or debit card online you put your information out there. Even if you do everything correctly you are dependent on the security of the company you are buying from as well as other factors.

The most secure way to pay are services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. Experts consider it best to use a credit card as opposed to a debit card when you shop online.

When shopping at a physical store using a CHIP card offers more security than the old magnetic strip. If a criminal intercepts your transaction through a skimmer or other means they will only see the transaction number. A magnetic card transaction exposes your name, credit card number, and other information in the same process. This is why that older form of credit card has been phased out of common usage.


As stated, experts suggest using a credit card instead of a debit card when buying online. This fact is also true for physical purchases for many of the same reasons.

Both credit and debit cards are issued by both Visa and Mastercard. Most debit cards will have the word “debit” above the logo and/or on the back of the card. These cards are tied directly into your bank account.

When you use a credit card, the transaction is posted against your credit balance. In the event your number is stolen the thief could charge up to the limit of the card. When you discover the theft, the bank advises calling them immediately. The bank will usually cancel your card and issue a new one with a different number. With a few clicks of the mouse by the transaction card representative, the fraudulent transactions can be disputed and within a very short time you can have your credit line back.

A debit card is tied directly to your bank account and in turn your money. When this number is stolen the thief can clean out your bank account depriving you of your funds. In many cases it will take the bank 2-3 weeks to cancel, reissue, and restore your funds. This can lead you to being without any cash funds for that period. This can be much more disruptive and frustrating than the damage of a credit card number theft can cause.

And for those who still carry a checkbook be very careful of where you use those checks. All the information that a thief needs to get to your bank account is on the front of a check. This method of payment is considered obsolete and is one of the most insecure ways to pay. In addition to the exposure of your banking information without any restriction, the check remains around physically until it’s destroyed. Since the majority of people deposit checks using an app on their phone the physical check usually gets thrown into a stack of papers and later thrown out. Your check, and your banking information, is now available for anyone that can find it. Even in a waste basket or landfill. A disturbing thought indeed.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand. Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.