A safer way to use credit cards online

December 18, 2008

Most of us have purchased things on-line with a credit-card.  With all the news of identity theft and credit-card theft lately, it is understandable to be hesitant about making online purchases.  This is especially the case when you need to make a payment at a new website that you haven’t developed a trust for. The online payment website PayPal has a little-known and under-used feature that can help reduce the chances of your credit card being used without your authorization.

If you have a PayPal account, you can take advantage of their free “secure card” feature.  This is a service where PayPal creates a one-time use, or single-vendor credit card for you.  You get a unique credit card that can only be used one-time, or that can only be used at a single vendor (your choice). The credit card is tied to your PayPal account or your bank account to fund the purchases.

Here are the steps you can use to generate your own one-time use credit card.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account. If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can sign up for one but you will need to complete the verification process and tie the account to your checking account before you can use the secure card feature.
  2. Click on the “PayPal Plugin” link on the left
  3. On the PayPal Plugin page, click the “Secure Cards” tab on the left.

    Click the "Secure Cards" tab

    Click the "Secure Cards" tab

  4. On the “Secure Cards” page, click the “Generate a new card” link to create your own single-use credit card.

    Click the "Generate new card" link

    Click the "Generate new card" link

  5. In the window that appears, select whether the card can be used just once (Single-use card), or multiple times by the same vendor  (Multiple-use card). Also select where the source of payment will be, either your PayPal account, or a bank account. The payment sources have been blanked out in the image below. Click continue to generate your card.

    New Card Options

    New Card Options

  6. Your new credit card number and details are shown. Use the credit card number, expiration date and other details for your purchase.  They are ready to use.  Note: The credit card details have been removed from the image below.

    Your new single-use credit card

    Your new single-use credit card

That’s it! You have a credit card that can only be used once!  You still have to trust PayPal enough to be comfortable with them being linked to your checking account. That is an individual preference left up to the purchaser. Be sure to read the PayPal Terms of Service before using it to make sure you understand how using a PayPal single-use credit card differs from using a traditional credit card and how to handle disputes.

Comments

Comments are closed.