Using your credit card safely online and in store

A credit card can be a useful tool in your daily life, granting you financial flexibility between pay days, but they can also be a gold mine for scammers looking to take advantage of your money. While the vast majority of people around the country will use their credit cards without issue, it pays to be vigilant nonetheless.

Here we look at some of the ways you can minimise your chances of getting stung by a credit card scam.

Online shopping

Credit cards make it easy to shop online, an activity that continues to grow in popularity. Online shopping in Australia was worth a staggering $26.9 billion as of 2016 according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). While no one can deny the convenience of online shopping, it can come with a certain amount of risk.

Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can spend with ease from the comfort of your home. Look out for fraudulent or phishing emails from unfamiliar senders that ask you to provide your personal or credit card details, and do not open links unless you are certain they are safe.

When shopping at online stores, look for the websites that have ‘https:’ at the start of the web address, or that have a green padlock or ‘secure’ sign in the address bar. For an extra layer of security, ensure that your computer is protected by anti-virus software and a firewall.

Credit card skimming

You might have heard of card skimming before, or seen it in a movie, but unfortunately this activity isn’t a work of fiction. Skimming involves using a small device to ‘skim’ your card details, copying the data stored on the magnetic strip of your card for the scammers to use later. Skimming usually takes place at ATM machines or at point of sale (POS) terminals at stores.

You can help to minimise your chances of card skimming by making sure you don’t let your card leave your sight at a store. Be suspicious of cashiers taking your card away to make a transaction, and if you see any strange transactions on your account summary be sure to report it to your card provider.

According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), over $521 million was lost to credit card fraud in the 2016 financial year – make sure you don’t become part of the statistics by taking care of your credit card. For more personal banking and credit card advice, don’t hesitate to contact us, or drop in to see your nearest branch.


  1. Nary Miller

    Thanks for information on what to look for when purchasing something on line. I have recently done this, and not sure if I have been scanned or not. No doubt I will find out when the item does not arrive. I have had scams from Australia and picked them up, but have no idea how overseas markets work.

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