Safety Factors of Using a Prepaid Card for Online Use

Identity theft is a continually growing problem and much of the financial abuse suffered by consumers occurs online.

You may be very careful about keeping your credit cards and debit cards with you at all times or keeping them in a secure place in your home. You may guard your account numbers and choose PIN numbers and passwords that are not easy to guess.

If there is a keylogger virus that has invaded your computer or the site you are buying from, all your security precautions may be of no use.

Buying a prepaid credit card for online use is a great method for protecting your financial wellbeing. The cards can be purchased in many retail stores and some merchants even brand prepaid credit cards.

WalMart offers it's Money Card which can be bought in the store and loaded with the amount of cash you want. Buying the card is only $3 for the temporary card and a permanent card is sent by postal mail within 10 days.

Adding funds to the account can be done at the store by going through the checkout line and paying a low $3 fee each time you re-load the card with cash. Although the permanent card takes a few days to reach you, the card can be used almost immediately.

If you purchase a prepaid card and add $100 to the account all you need to do is go to the website for the credit card and activate that card. Once that is done, you can make purchases online using the $100 you used to fund the card.

Advantages

You can never spend more than the amount of funds you have placed on the card. The card has no personal information attached to it that a thief could use to compromise your other financial accounts.

If you lose your prepaid card you can go to the website and cancel the card immediately and transfer remaining funds to a new card you've purchased.

Online shopping was viewed with distrust when merchants began offering goods to the public through the internet.

Customers were reluctant to enter credit card account numbers, birth date and other personal information on an impersonal web page.

Those who were not cautious about where they shopped online soon learned a lesson about security and the lack of security when their identity was stolen or when fraudulent charges were places on the credit card by unscrupulous online merchants.

Entering a prepaid card for online use when buying from a website is much like paying with cash in a department store. Perhaps you need to buy four items online from three different websites.

If you know those items will cost a total of $150 it's a simple matter to load a prepaid credit card with that amount. You can then make your purchases without exposing yourself to security risks of online shopping. This will also help you avoid making additional impulse buys.

Disadvantages

If there is any disadvantage it is that a prepaid card for online use does nothing to improve or maintain your credit score.

This is not a card that is reported to credit bureaus as there is no risk or interest or regular payment associate with using this account.

Summary

A prepaid card for online use use is an excellent way to reduce your risk of exposing your personal financial information online to potential thieves. Web pages accepting payments are secure pages but the level of security can vary.

With a prepaid card issued for online use you don't have to be too concerned about the quality of the merchant's security precautions.