Shopping online is much more convenient than having to get dressed, drive to a store and walk around for an hour. But this convenience can come at a higher cost if you’re not carefull. Online shopping makes it easy to overspend, compromise your financial security and even miss out on sales.
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Here are six online shopping mistakes to avoid so you can protect yourself while surfing the web at home in your pajamas.
Doing an online search for any product, whether it’s clothing, shoes or electronics, can turn up hundreds and hundreds of results. There are tons of small shops and big brands who are vying for your dollars. They’ll do anything to get their products to be some of the first ones listed in search results. Because of this you have to be extremely careful that you only purchase products from secure websites and trusted brands.
Take a few seconds to verify the site’s credentials and make sure there’s a green “lock” image in the website’s URL. If you’re unsure, or if a site looks a bit sketchy, it won’t be worth it to save a few dollars and have your payment information used fraudulently. Avoid non-secure websites and opt for well-known retailers instead.
Source: Google Shopping
Online shopping makes it super easy to compare prices and save the most amount possible, on all your purchases. So don’t skimp on doing a bit of research and taking time to compare prices. It may take a few extra minutes but you could end up paying a lot more for the same item that’s deeply discounted on another site.
Google Shopping is one of the best, and most trusted, resources for comparison shoppers. A quick search will turn up multiple prices for the same item at different retailers, store ratings, shipping prices and return policies, so you can make the most informed online shopping decision.
One of the best strategies that online retailers use to get you to spend more money, is to offer free shipping when you spend over a certain amount. But don’t fall into this trap! Not only does the free shipping promotion prompt you to spend more money than originally intended, you could end with items you don’t actually need.
Take a minute to calculate the savings and see if adding a few more items to your cart, to qualify for free shipping, is indeed the best deal. If not, continue with your purchase and pay the couple of dollars for the shipping cost. Or search a different site for the product you’re buying that includes free shipping and has it bundled with your membership, like Amazon Prime.
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With sites like DealsPlus, and countless other apps, you should never be without a coupon or discount code. These deal sites are doing the work for you and bringing the savings right into your inbox. Before checking out online, do a quick search of your favorite coupon sites and see if your preferred store is offering any discounts.
And don’t forget about cashback earnings too! Popular sites like Ebates and BeFrugal offer a cashback percentage on all the purchases you make online. This can add an additional savings of up to 70%, according to this post from The Penny Hoarder.
Public wifi may be free, but it can still come at a high cost. Surfing online and doing comparison shopping is great while on public wifi, but when it’s time to go through the checkout process, it’s better to switch to a more secure connection. Information sent via public wifi can be easily monitored, accessed and hacked by other people.
The same goes for checking your email account, Facebook page or bank accounts. All of this data can be compromised over public wifi, so avoid doing anything online that contains personal information.
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Debit cards are directly connected to your checking account. This make it a very dangerous option for online checkout. Don’t compromise your financial security by using a debit card to make purchases online. If an identity thief steals your information, a credit card will be able to protect you a lot more than a debit card will.
It could take weeks for your funds to be returned to your bank account after filing a fraudulent charges claim with your bank. But with a credit card, filing a purchase dispute is much faster, easier and you won’t be out the funds until the money’s returned.
In addition, a lot of credit card companies include perks for their cardholders, such as extended warranties on purchases, refunds and returns protection and more. Because of this it makes much more sense to checkout with a credit card, not a debit card, when making purchases online.
Make your online deals-hunting experience as smooth and secure as possible by avoiding these common online shopping mistakes.