Secure Credit Card Info
Credit card information includes your credit card number, security code, and other details needed to use your card. It’s essential to keep credit card information secure—like being careful about how and where you use it—to avoid fraud.
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.1 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020. A significant number of those were credit card fraud. While credit cards can be a secure, convenient, and even beneficial way to pay for things, it’s important to know how to use them wisely and in a way that keeps you safe from potential theft.
Most credit card companies have anti-fraud measures of their own, so even if you are a victim of fraud, it’s not the end of the world. Often, your credit card company will remove fraudulent charges from your statement if you report them and they conduct an investigation that proves it is fraud. However, it’s definitely still a headache to deal with, so preventing fraud in the first place is usually a good step to take regardless.
Mint will walk you through what you need to know. Review the topics in the list below, or read through for your crash course on securely handling credit card info.
Before knowing how to protect your credit card info, you might be wondering what credit card details are stored on your chip to begin with.
What Information Is Stored on a Credit Card Chip?
Your credit card chip stores the basic credit card info you need to conduct a transaction—basically, your credit card number. It does not store your personal account details or other sensitive information you may have offered your credit card company when first signing up for a credit card.
Credit card chips are an improvement from the magnet strip method, as magnetic strips are easier to duplicate, making them more susceptible to fraud. Similar information is also stored on your card if it has a tap-to-pay option, which is also more secure than magnetic strips, and about as secure as the chip method.
When in doubt, it’s smart to opt for a chip or tap-to-pay method over swiping.
How to Store Credit Card Information
Storing your credit card information securely is very important, especially now that so many of our digital devices allow us to store credit card info in our browsers or on a device itself.
With your credit card information so many more places in the digital age, security is key to keeping it safe from those who would use it without your permission. Here are some tips to follow to keep your information safe:
- Keep your credit card in a consistent location. You should always know where your physical credit card or cards are. Whether you use a wallet, card sleeve, purse, or another method of carrying your cards, it should be consistent. A misplaced credit card can be a serious headache you want to avoid.
- Use authorized equipment. It can be hard to tell as a customer, but if you get a bad feeling about the equipment a vendor is using to scan your card, it might be better to opt for cash payment.
- Use browser storage carefully. Many web browsers, like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all allow you to store your credit card information on the browser. While this makes online payments quick and easy, it can also be a security liability. Here are a few more tips about that:
- Only store your credit card information on your personal devices. If you’re logged into a work computer or a friend’s computer and need to buy something, never opt to store your credit card info when paying.
- Don’t store the security code (called a CVV). Your credit card has a three-digit security code on the back. It’s not a hassle to manually input this when you’re buying something, so opt not to store it on any browsers.
- Password-protect your devices. If you have your credit card info stored on your laptop or phone, you can further protect your card info by putting a password lock on your device.
Credit card fraud was the most common form of identity theft in the U.S. for four of the last five years. Because people use credit cards so often, they are easy targets. People tend to get very relaxed in their credit card usage. Opting for careful security practices is a good way to avoid this kind of theft and fraud.
Other Tips for Credit Card Security
In addition to safe ways to store your credit card info, here are a few general tips for credit card security:
- Don’t input credit card info into websites that are not an “https” domain; “http” domains are unsecured.
- Don’t lend your credit card to others unless absolutely necessary.
- Look into a company’s reputation and reviews if it’s not one you’ve done business with before.
- Always be suspicious of special offers and deals that are emailed to you.
- Never give out credit card information over the phone.
- Don’t hesitate to call your credit card company if you notice suspicious purchases.
With a little extra diligence, you can help reduce your risk of credit card fraud.
How Credit Card Information Is Stolen
Credit card info can be stolen in a few different ways. And new digital methods have expanded the number of ways that fraudsters can access your card info. In fact, online shopping accounted for about $246 million in reported losses from consumers.
Here are just a few ways that scammers may acquire your information:
- Phishing: Phishing emails attempt to get you to hand over your information directly to the scammer. They may tell you that you’ve won a prize and in order to claim it you need to send them your credit card information. It’s almost never a good idea to email credit card info, especially not to someone you don’t trust.
- Malware and spyware: Scammy websites and emails may automatically download software onto your computer that will scan your credit card info whenever you put it into a website. Be careful in your browsing habits, and always check your downloads folder for unfamiliar or suspicious files.
- Data breaches: Sometimes, companies may lose mass amounts of data in a breach. In such cases, tons of people’s credit card info could be compromised. If a company you do business with has had a breach, it’s probably time to change your passwords and request a new credit card.
- Physical skimming: A fraudster might go through your trash, place a recording device on an ATM, or even record your credit card info while you check out at a store if you’re not paying attention. It’s smart to make sure you’re always mindful of where your credit card info is being seen and stored.
Read more about credit card fraud statistics on the Mint blog.
Can Someone Use Your Credit Card without Your CVV?
While most merchants require CVV for purchase it still is possible to use a credit card without one in some cases. This is more common with merchants who don’t use up-to-date credit card information system security technology and protocols. Either way, however, it’s still important to protect your CVV, as many more merchants require it to do business.
How to Find Out Who Stole Your Credit Card Information
If your credit card information is stolen, there are a few steps that you should immediately take:
- Call your credit card company and report the fraud. If you report it quickly, it’s likely they will strike the charges from your statement and balance. Federal law also limits the amount you can legally owe on unauthorized charges to $50, too, so there’s no need to panic if someone bought plane tickets and a luxury watch on your card.
- Cancel your credit card or just request to get a new one issued. Be sure to check with your company to see which steps are necessary to maintain security.
- Check all the relevant information. That means credit card statements, accounts with autopay, and information like the date and time that you remember noticing your card information was stolen.
- Be ready to work with your card provider. In many cases, your credit card company will handle the fraud investigation on their own. However, if they do need further information from you, or request further action from you—like ordering a new credit card with a new number—be ready to assist them however they need.
In most cases, you won’t find out exactly who stole your credit card information. That’s okay. The most important thing is that you don’t lose money due to fraud, and most companies will issue a credit card refund for fraudulent charges.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Card Security
Credit cards can be a secure way to handle your purchases. After all, if you lose cash in a scam, there’s really nothing that can be done about it. Credit cards allow you to contest charges and monitor usage, making them a great option for all kinds of transactions.
That said, always be sure to keep an eye on your accounts. If you have many credit cards and debit cards to keep an eye on, a good way to manage them is with Mint. The Mint app allows you to keep a bird’s-eye view of your cards, monitoring spending across different accounts all in one convenient place. Download the app today to find out how you can budget, track spending, and more.
Mint is your resource for credit card information and tools, check out our credit card debt payoff calculator and blog to start with.