Should You Use Your Debit Cards for Online Shopping?

The UK Cards Association has reported an increase in the use of debit cards for online purchases – with a reported £35billion spent using debit cards online. This is compared to the £34billion spent using credit cards.

It’s also been reported that shoppers are using debit cards in stores more often, too. Figures show an average of 205 transactions being made by debit card users last year. That’s an increase of 10 from the previous year.

At present, around 91% of UK adults have a debit card, while only 61% use a credit card. As more and more shops and stores bring in Chip and PIN, use of debit cards has increased. The ease of card transactions with no need to withdraw cash is ideal for a fast-paced world.
Internet shopping benefits

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), figures from last year show that a massive two thirds of adults in the UK had bought items on the internet. UK consumers are reported as being one of the most prolific online shoppers in the developed world.

So what is it about internet shopping and using a debit card that’s so attractive?

The higher surcharges often incurred when using a credit card rather than a debit card is likely to be a factor. Because shoppers are becoming more confident with online shopping, thanks to a number of increasing secure payment methods, it’s no surprise that the convenience of ordering online is preferable.

Debit Cards

However, credit card purchases do have their benefits. Credit cards often come with a little more protection when it comes to buying online – if an item has been ordered and the business subsequently stops trading, an item costing more than £100 may be claimed back from the credit card issuer.

Although credit card purchases are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, debit card purchases don’t qualify for this protection simply because they don’t form part of a credit agreement making them less secure.

“The FSA rules state that if you deny having authorised an online payment and claiming to be victims of fraud the banks should give customers the benefit of the doubt and while debit card protection offered isn’t a legal obligation it is possible for you to claim a refund if a card is proven to be used fraudulently,” commented a spokesperson from Yorkshire Building Society.

What makes a site safe to use?

Buyers online should assess the site properly before making an online payment with a debit or credit card. Always check that it is a secure website when entering payment details – there will be a small padlock in the browser window. Check any bank statements and keep all receipts.

Safeguard passwords

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the Office of Fair Trading discovered some restrictions on refunds, and cases of charges being applied without any kind of warning at checkout. Always check a refund policy before making the purchase. After an order has been received, there is usually a seven day period in which the buyer can opt for getting a refund from a return.