Tips on Shopping Online


Many people currently shop online with their credit cards. And for good reason. They are accepted everywhere you want to be on the Internet. That means you can choose from online shops worldwide. So relax, and use these tips to get the most from your online shopping experience.

Internet gambling advisory.
Internet gambling may be illegal in the jurisdiction in which you are located, including locations within the United States. Visa cards may only be used for legal transactions. Display of a payment card logo by an online merchant does not mean that Internet gambling transactions are lawful in all jurisdictions in which the cardholder may be located.

Shop with merchants you know and trust.
Dealing with merchants you already know can make your online shopping experience more comfortable. To help you find hundreds of top merchants, you can use popular shopping sites. You can also find out about a merchant by visiting their Web site and reading their guarantees, warranties, and return policies. Don’t hesitate to contact the BBB Online and other consumer agencies for information about specific merchants.

Read delivery and return policies and privacy statements. Before completing an online transaction, be sure to read the delivery and return policies on the merchant’s home page. Check if you can return a purchase and whether you’ll get a refund or credit. Also take a look at privacy statements to see how your personal information will be used. The most reliable online merchants will always make this information easily available.

Take advantage of the benefits of Internet research when making purchases.
The power of the Internet allows you to search the world for everyday items and rare treasures. Shopping online can help you narrow choices and locate items that are out of stock at your local stores. And access to product reviews and other online information can enhance your knowledge and help you make a more informed buying decision. For example, on some music merchant sites, you can listen to songs online before buying a CD.

Look for the rewards of online shopping.
Most online merchants are eager to welcome you to this easy and convenient method of shopping. You can often find special frequent shopper programs, awards, bonuses, and promotions by shopping online. Look for the items you want, then check to see what extras are available.

Save on shipping and handling and other costs.
When calculating the final cost of a purchase, don’t forget shipping and handling charges. And if you’re doing business with a merchant located in another state or country, taxes and international costs may apply. Before you buy, check the merchant site for a description of what charges will apply to your purchase – you may be able to save money by purchasing multiple items at once, or by identifying lower costs on a particular Web site.

Look for signs of security and never send payment information via e-mail.
There are several ways to tell if a merchant site is secure. Symbols like an unbroken lock or key, a URL that begins https://, and the words Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) mean that no one but you and the merchant can view your payment information. Some merchants also ask you to create a personal account that requires a password to enter an order. This is a secure method as long as you always keep your password private, create passwords that are hard to figure out (avoiding numbers like your birth date, phone number, or social security number), and change your passwords often.
Also, never send your payment information via e-mail. Information that travels over the Internet as regular electronic mail is not fully protected from being read by outside parties. All reputable merchant sites use encryption methods that will protect your private data from being read by others as you make an online transaction. If you choose to use your payment card online, make sure that you are using a secure browser, and always look for the merchant’s privacy policy and an explanation of how your personal information will be protected. Many reliable merchant sites will also allow you to pay by phone, fax, or mail.

Never provide your card number as proof of your age. At times, some merchants have requested you provide them your Visa card number as a proof of age. Never provide a merchant this information, as the card number does not validate an age.

Pay with your credit or check card.
Using your Visa card online is easy. And you’re protected in exactly the same way you are when you use your card at the store, order from a catalog by mail, or call in an order over the phone. And in case of a problem, you always have safeguards from Visa against unauthorized card use, theft, or loss.

Keep a record of your transaction.
Just as you save your receipts when shopping at the mall, you’ll want to keep a record of your Internet purchases. Back up your transactions by saving and/or printing the online confirmation of your order. These records are just like the receipts you keep when shopping in the physical world.

Use common sense, take your time, and have fun. Shopping on the Internet offers many advantages, from the convenience of shopping from home to the ability to find hard-to-locate collectibles. As you explore the world of electronic commerce, don’t underestimate your common sense. Take your time, have fun, and know that while good bargains exist on the Internet, some offers may be too good to be true. There are many good products available over the Internet from respected merchants, so if you’re uncertain about a particular site, there are always other places to shop online.