Keeping Financial Information Safe Online

Keeping financial information safe has always been important. Before Internet technology became available, there were two or three important pieces of information to know: your social security number, your date of birth and your pin number at the bank.

Now you probably have 20 user id’s and passwords, some of which are connected to the bank, others for credit cards and still more just for fun and social networking. Managing the information requires some sort of information storage; but doesn’t keeping information safe require that you write nothing down?

The level of trust consumers can expect for their online information is increasing, though many are still fearful about entering personal information, even on a trusted bank’s website. Still, everyone has vital information that can be taken at any time, whether from the real world or the virtual one. The information in your wallet is no less safe than information online.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant online. It just means you should not purposefully avoid the Internet altogether. While there is the chance that you may have your data misused by a site that you thought was safe, there’s also a chance that a seemingly nice lady on the bus will make off with your wallet. And just as you take steps to keep your wallet safe, such as placing it in a front pocket, or wearing a chain, you can make your online money safer too. Here are some safer shopping options to consider.

PayPal

Now owned by eBay, PayPal is an accepted vendor at many websites. When you shop or pay with your PayPal account, no merchant gets direct access to your financial information. It is all stored online at PayPal, a well-respected site with strong security accepted almost everywhere.

Google Checkout

This service is not as popular as PayPal but works like a virtual wallet. Instead of giving the vendor your credit card, you give it to Google and the transaction is processed without sharing your personal information. The option is not as ever-present as PayPal, which is the main limitation of the service.

Passport

Even Microsoft is in on the game (and has been at it longer than anyone) with its Passport program. Participants can use one email address to sign on to websites and pay for products they buy online. While good for interacting on Microsoft sites and some major retailers, this is not a good option for all of your Internet shopping needs.

Bill Me Later

This is another eBay site that offers a pay-later system. You must give the last four digits of your Social Security number, your billing address and birth date. A quick credit check run by the site will approve or deny the transaction, then you will get a bill in the mail or by email that you can pay by whichever means you prefer.

Using any one of these options can reduce your risk of identity theft. These sights succeed because they have proven themselves trustworthy and they have anti-fraud guarantees that make consumers feel more secure.