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New Device Guards Your Credit Card Data When Shopping Online

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This article was last updated May 25, 2011, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

Do you worry about shopping online? You are not alone. Plugging in sensitive credit card data online doesn't always feel safe to do. It is estimated that more than half of all types of spyware and malware go undetected even when virus protection is in place. It is a big risk but one company says they have a solution.

What's SmartSwipe?

A handy new innovation that plugs into the USBport of any computer can help give online shoppers extra peace of mind thanks to additional layers of encryption protection. The "SmartSwipe" gadget is a credit card scanner that encrypts and encodes the confidential financial data that is stored on your credit card before it is sent to a retailer or website. So if you are feeling a little uncomfortable about sending your credit card numbers into cyber space, all you have to do is plug this sleek little gadget into your computer.

Say, for example, that you are shopping on a website and have filled up the online store's shopping card. When it's time to complete your transaction you are asked to provide your credit card numbers, which most shoppers do by typing in the actual data. However, if you have a SmartSwipe you instead plug in the device. Then you swipe your plastic through the SmartSwipe – which is about the size of a computer mouse. You avoid all the hassle of having to manually type in all those numbers, and you also get the big advantage of knowing that nobody who is trying to hack you info can decode it.

The SmartSwipe is only compatible with PC computers at this point, so Mac users will have to wait to see if the company comes out with a version for them. Meanwhile, however, those who use PC platforms can pick up one of the cool little high security gadgets for about $60 at stores including Brookstone.

What Else Can You Do?

As a consumer, protecting your identity is critical when shopping online. Microsoft offers some helpful tips on what to look for from websites before you buy from them. This includes looking for security devices on sites to protect you.

You can also be a smart shopper by following these tips from the FTC on online shopping:

  • Don't give out too much of your personal information especially for free offers. Protect against this.
  • Don't buy on public WiFi locations. Wait until you are at a security location instead.
  • Pay with a credit card, Since you have the right to dispute any and all charges under certain circumstances, this provides you with a layer of protection.

Consider the advantages of using services like SmartSwipe to protect your credit cards. Find out if your credit card offers protections, too. For example, Discover provides you with $0 Fraud Liability with automatic mobile and email fraud alerts. You'll know right away if there's a problem.


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