The internet is rife with memes based on the subject line “When you order for something versus when it arrives” The memes revolve around two images, one depicting the image that was displayed on the e-commerce site and the second showing the product looking drastically different from the online picture after it arrives. As humorous as the memes might seem, unfortunately, they are based on real life events.
Shopping online puts scores of stores at your fingertips and gives you the freedom of browsing for products at any hour of the day but it can often be a gamble, especially for shoes and clothes. However, there are precautions you should take, especially when you are paying with your debit card on these platforms. Asides getting the exact thing you ordered, the concern of your account’s safety is also very important.
These tips will lead you in the right direction while shopping online with your card.
1. Read the Reviews: Some online stores have a review section where previous shoppers leave comments or rate it by stars. Make it a habit to read the reviews and see what previous buyers think of the product. Experiences may vary, but if you see something mentioned in more than a few reviews, it’s a safe bet that’s probably true. If there are no reviews, Ask trusted family and friends that have bought the same type of product recently for advice based on their experience.
2. Buy from familiar websites: Reputable websites like Amazon, SMEMarkethub, and others are bent on maintaining trust with their customers. Therefore it is safer to buy from the people you trust. New online shopping stores spring up every day, some of which may have the intention of swindling your money without making deliveries. Also, watch out for website misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example). You can also ask for a pay on delivery option using POS, this may attract a little more cost, but you are sure of paying after confirming the item.
3. Get Proper Measurements: If you are shopping for an outfit or fashion accessory, you need to measure yourself or get an even more accurate measurement from a tailor. Once you have an idea of your size, beyond “medium,” “size 8,” or “32 waist,” you’ll be able shop without fear. Remember, one company’s size 6 is another company’s size 8. Measure your chest/bust, waist, and hips. Write down your numbers and keep them handy whenever you are buying clothes online.
4. Check for the ‘Padlock’. Do not use your credit card on a website that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption. The URL of a protected website starts with HTTPS:// and has an icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar, while an unprotected site has just HTTP://. Watch out for that saving ‘S,’ so that some internet criminals do not capture your personal and banking information through your card details.
5. Check the Return Policy: Mistakes might be made, if an online seller doesn’t accept returns, you will have to decide whether the risk is worth the purchase you make. Sometimes your item will fit perfectly, but if you don’t want to risk it, be sure to only shop with companies that accept returns. The best stores often give a return policy, opt for them.
6. Free Trials are not totally ‘free’. If you subscribe to a trail product on an e-commerce platform using your card details, that service is most likely a subscription. Make sure you unsubscribe before your trial expires if you do not want to be charged subsequently.
7. Always check your email for transaction updates. Customers of GTBank usually receive free email notification on their transactions for the safety of their accounts. To enrol for this service, you can call GTConnect on the following numbers: 0700 482666328, 01 4480000, 080 39003900, 080 29002900 OR visit any GTBank branch near you.
8. Keep your eye on your card. While shopping, ensure that your card does not leave your sight. DO NOT allow the attendant take your card into an inner room or enter your PIN on your behalf.
9. Use secure internet connections. Shopping via mobile devices and free Wi-Fi may not be safe, especially when you are not sure how secure a public hotspot is. If you’re going to access financial accounts or enter your card details online, do it using a computer via secured internet connection.
10. Review your statements frequently. Don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month, investigate. If you notice any irregularities e.g. charges on items you didn’t order, cash withdrawals you didn’t make, etc. Kindly report to your financial institution. Shop safe!