Purchasing power is increasingly being utilized online, for everything from holidays to takeaways to your grocery shopping. So ways to pay over the internet continue to evolve. It is in response to the increasing need for convenience for both businesses and consumers, and ways to evade the crooks.

Aside from providers like PayPal, Escrow and Apple Pay, and methods such as contactless payment, there is an explosion of consumers making mobile payments. Banks offer facilities to pay a mobile contact on your phone, and companies offer payments via their wallet apps. Transactions are even being more commonly made using virtual currency like bitcoin.

How do we navigate the online financial world to get the best deals, while being assured our details and money are protected?

Firstly, it is worth setting up an online banking feature for all of your banks if you haven’t already. This way you can monitor all transactions wherever you are via your smartphone, spotting quickly any anomalies so you can report them to your bank. When you land on a url, look for the green padlock sign and https:// at the start of the address to know the site is (S for) secure. If it begins http:// it is not likely to be a secure connection. Often the address bar will turn green to let you know the site is likely to be protected, although this is not absolutely guaranteed. You should be able to click on the padlock to view if the site has a valid security certificate.

A place where you most need peace of mind is if you are using banking details or your hard earned cash to access gaming sites. Betway is one leading betting site in the UK that offers third party payment options that don’t give your details to the retailer or provider, such as PayPal and Skrill. But it also accepts Visa cards, and is also endorsed by sports betting regulatory bodies such as Essa (Sports Betting Integrity). You can find the symbols for these at the bottom of the page.

Another way to test the legitimacy of a website is if it has a physical address, email and contact number. All legitimate businesses have these easily accessible on their websites. Credit cards should usually be accepted at reputable sites, as this offers a safer way to pay online than a debit card, and it means they are willing to get the approval of all the top card providers. If your details are misappropriated, you can more easily regain your losses if you paid by credit card.

Finally, look for a comprehensive privacy statement. All businesses should be able to tell you how they protect your information including personal data. They should be upfront about whether any information about you is sold to third parties and how long it is stored for on their systems.

With all of this in mind, you should be able to shop online and even make a few winnings in peace.

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