Shopping online has become an increasingly popular activity, with e commerce sales in the US topping 289 billion in 2012. By 2016, there will be an estimated 175 million online shoppers in the country. If you are planning to be one of them, then here are three examples of good online shopping advice you can keep in mind.
1. Stay Secure
Nowadays, most sites are fairly secure. There are several things you can double check on, though, just to make sure you have not clicked on one of the questionable sites that fell through the cracks. Secure sites have a small padlock icon, generally in the top right of the browser. Secured payment sites have an S in their url address, as in, https, not http.
Email, comments, and anything other than a direct payment page are usually not secure, so be very wary of any business that wants your credit information delivered in a less traditional manner. If you are unsure about a business still, for American companies you can often check to see if any complaints have been lodged against them via the Better Business Bureau.
2. Use Credit
Most people use cards to pay online. Credit cards are generally safer than debit cards for payment, because they rely on credit you pay off eventually, rather than directly removing money from your bank. If you use a credit card, you are protected from fraud under the Fair Credit Billing Act. Consumer Reports recommends using only one card for all online payments. This way, if something bad does happen, you just need to deal with and possibly cancel one account.
3. Hunt for Bargains
Now that you know how to stay safe, it is time to shop! There are millions of companies selling products online, so always double check to make sure you are getting the best deal. Once you know you want an item, run the product name or description through Google search to see if it comes up cheaper anywhere else. Good sites for bargains include Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, and Overstock. For sites like Ebay, keep a close eye on shipping prices since some dealers will try to make their bargains look better by underpricing and then charging extra in shipping.
Do you have some good online shopping advice for our readers? Let us know in the comments!