Card fraud losses in the United States is projected to exceed $12 billion in the next couple of years. Learning how to safely use a debit card online is an essential skill.

Debit cards are a staple in life. For the first time in years, more people are paying with debit cards instead of cash. If your debit card information gets into the wrong hands, it will cause problems for you.

Play it safe with these 5 must-know tips for using your debit card on the internet:

1. Don’t Save Your Card Information When Using a Debit Card Online

Sure, sites give you the option to save your debit card information, but that doesn’t mean you should do it. To ensure maximum debit card safety, don’t save your debit card information to any sites.

Sites give people this option to conserve time and effort. It also encourages customers to buy more. However, when you save this information to a site, you’re putting your bank account at risk.

If your account gets hacked, the hacker(s) can take your debit card information.

2. Use Your Own Internet Connection

If you’re using your own internet connection, you’re not compromising any of your Visa debit card information. (Then again, this goes for any debit card company.)

When you use an unfamiliar internet connection, you don’t know who’s tracking your information. The risk of your debit card being stolen increases when you are using an unsecured or public internet connection.

Avoid giving out any financial information when using a shared internet connection at work, public WiFi spots, and any other public internet access points.

3. Research Vendors Before Making a Purchase

Even the best secured debit card isn’t safe if you surrender it to an illegitimate site or vendor. Research every vendor and website you’re interested in prior to making a purchase.

Sure, a website might look professional, but looks can be deceiving. Always double-check a web address’s spelling – scammers often use variations and misspellings of legitimate online vendors in order to steal their customers’ information.

Read reviews and look for trends in compliments, complaints, etc. Google and Yelp are valuable resources for reviews.

Some legitimate vendors are still considered high risk, so you should discover more about how vendors can safely process debit card and credit card payments.

4. Look at Security

Restrict your online purchases to secure sites. Make sure they’re encrypted to protect against hackers.

Use visual clues in a site’s checkout section to learn about its security. For instance, the URL should change from http to https. There should also be a padlock icon between the “https” and the rest of the address.

Sure, you might have the best secured debit card. Still, entering your debit card details into an unsafe site puts your financial well-being at risk.

5. Never Enter Your Debit Card Information Into an E-mail

Even high-risk vendors should have a secure checkout process for card payments. Paying online never involves writing your debit card information into an e-mail and sending it out.

If someone asks you to do this, it’s a scam.

Stay Safe While Paying Online

There are over 5,449 million debit cards in the United States. Paying with a debit card online is serious business. Your safety matters.

More than 197 million debit card owners exist in the United States. Enjoy the autonomy of online shopping without the risk: play it safe.

Expand your mind and educate yourself about the world. It’ll change your life.

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