June 15, 2024

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  • As more people take their shopping online, credit card fraud becomes more pressing.
  • Where feasible, favor credit cards over debit cards to take advantage of zero liability protection.
  • Daily monitoring of your account activity and setting up expenditure alerts can help catch fraudulent activities early.
  • Our guide to the best rewards credit cards can be a handy read.

E-commerce had been a significant part of most Americans’ lives, and its growth has been exponential in recent years.

The convenience it offers is almost disconcerting; why bother going to a store, waving or inserting your card, or shelling out money for gas, when everything can be delivered to your doorstep courtesy of Jeff Bezos?

However, keep in mind that the safety of your financial information remains paramount. Recognizing the shift towards digital transactions, fraudsters are constantly finding ways to exploit this transition.

According to a report by Fidelity National Information Services at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a 35% year-over-year rise in fraudulent credit transactions.

The persistence of credit card fraud boils down to one simple fact: it’s effective. Here are steps to help you keep your credit safe.

This post focuses on the rewards and perks associated with each card. It is important to note that these cards may not provide value if you end up paying interest or late fees. It is advisable to pay off your balance every month, make timely payments, and spend within your means when using a credit card.

1. Favor your credit card over your debit card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



Insider’s Rating

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

A five pointed star

4.4/5

Perks

Earn 5x on travel passed through Chase Travel℠. Earn 3x on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries. Earn 2x on all other travel purchases. Earn 1x on all other purchases.

Regular Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

Ranges from 21.49% to 28.49%, subject to change

Advantages

  • Thumb up icon
    A thumb up symbol. It signifies your approval.

    Generous introductory bonus offer sets you off with a significant amount of points

  • Thumb up icon
    A thumb up symbol. It signifies your approval.

    Extensive travel insurance coverage

Drawbacks

  • Thumb down icon
    A thumb down symbol. It signifies your disapproval.

    Lacks provision for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee rebate

Product Specifications

  • Secure 60,000 bonus points after initial expenditure of $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. The points equate to $750 if redeemed via Chase Travel℠.
  • Take advantage of benefits like 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, some streaming services, online groceries. 2x on any other travel expenses, 1x on all residual purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Discount, and more.
  • Get 25% additional value upon redeeming for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises via Chase Travel℠. For instance, 60,000 points are worth $750 in travel expenses.
  • Benefit from Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance, and more.
  • Gain free access to DashPass, offering $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees for not less than one year, provided you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

The Fair Credit Billing Act, ratified in 1974, mandates that the utmost amount you could possibly owe due to unauthorized credit use is $50. In numerous cases, you owe nothing. This is where the “zero liability protection” provided by many credit cards comes into play.

However, debit cards tell a different tale. These plastic cash alternatives fall under the purview of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, which allows you to be held liable for fraudulent charges up to $500, if you fail to report it beyond two business days.

Further reading: 4 reasons to choose a credit card over a debit card

Even if your bank doesn’t charge you for the fraudulent transactions, they still require you to leap through hoops to reclaim your money. Preserve that cash in your checking account and opt for credit cards. Advantages of credit cards include superior protection and more rewarding opportunities for your expenditure.

2. Regularly monitor your account activity

Despite not being held liable for unauthorized credit card use, you should not allow it to happen. This can cause significant issues with your credit report. Also, you will need to cancel automatic payments if fraud leads to a change of your card number. Therefore, do not wait till your monthly bill arrives to assure the safety of your card.

Suggested reading: Steps to follow in case your credit card is misplaced or stolen, whether domestic or abroad

Check your banking app daily. A routine inspection of your credit card activities not only helps you keep track of your spending, but also alerts you to unauthorized usage.

3. Set spending notifications

Inspect your online banking portal for functions allowing pre-planned alerts that can inform you about new transactions.

Suggested reading: 5 credit card errors that could impact your finances and rewards points

Most banks provide alerts if a transaction surpasses a particular limit, if there is an international charge made to the card, or if a transaction is pending for online or phone charges. Choose to receive these notifications via email or text messages, whichever method suits you, and you can immediately dispute any transaction that seems dubious.

4. Always be vigilant

While “avoid clicking on suspicious links” may seem like common knowledge, cyber criminals have evolved and are now more advanced than their old-fashioned misspelled messages asking for money. Always make sure to visit the site, look for a padlock symbol in the address bar or if the URL begins with “https”, signifying “secure”. The same applies for text messages.

Suggested reading: Identity theft is prevalent but these 5 credit card protection programs can ensure your safety

Even though offering your email address or other information to a retailer might be appealing in return for a promotional code, it is advisable to minimize the number of sign-ups because these retailers are prime targets. Whenever your information is stored in a retailer’s system, it adds another potential risk.

5. Enquire about virtual account numbers from your card issuer

Select banks provide the option of generating virtual credit card numbers for online purchases. In place of the regular 16-digit code on your card, this method generates temporary numbers for your transactions, ensuring that even if a hacker acquires the number, it is useless to them.

Suggested reading: The 5 predominant credit card scams and how to safeguard yourself

For instance, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card allows the use of virtual numbers online. Other providers like American Express and Citi.On top of that, other financial institutions such as Truist, PNC and Wells Fargo provide similar benefits.

In a Nutshell

Every single time you use your card — in the physical or digital world — there’s a frightening amount of miscreants aiming to acquire your confidential data. While banks generally excel at thwarting these attempts, it’s always wise to remain vigilant.

Abiding by the above guidelines can make these ne’er-do-wells’ job considerably more strenuous.

<span>David McMillin has penned articles on topics like credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes, and travel for the last decade. His goal is unpretentious: empower readers to trim fees and amplify rewards.</span>
                                                      <span>Besides crafting content for Business Insider, Bankrate, and The Points Guy, David also doubles as a musician, which has made him excessively concerned about finances. He channels the wisdom he's gleaned from budgeting and securing sign-up bonuses to dispense practical advice on personal finance choices.</span>
                                                      <span>David resides in Chicago. With eased travel restrictions, he plans to visit four remaining states – Alaska, Utah, Oklahoma, and Vermont – to mark all 50 states off his list.</span>

For a decade, David McMillin has produced content about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes, and travel. His primary aim is straightforward: assisting readers in reducing fees and enhancing rewards.
In addition to contributing to Business Insider, Bankrate, and The Points Guy, David is also a musician, which has led to spending an excess amount of time worrying about finances. He uses the knowledge he’s gathered from budgeting and securing sign-up bonuses to provide practical guidance for personal finance choices.
David is based in Chicago. Once travel resumes to pre-pandemic levels, he aims to tick off the remaining four states – Alaska, Utah, Oklahoma, and Vermont – from his list, thereby visiting all 50 US states. 

Joseph Hostetler, CEPF

Credit cards correspondent

<span>Joseph Hostetler served as a credit cards journalist for Insider where he shared useful miles and points hacks. He also holds a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF) designation.</span>
                                                      <span>Joseph has over half a decade of professional experience in writing about credit cards, with previous roles at The Points Guy and Million Mile Secrets. </span>

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