Online shopping is great, but typing in your credit card number on every new website can get annoying fast. Here’s how to skip the typing and check out sooner, whether you’re on your iPhone, Android phone, PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
Save It in Your Web Browser
Your web browser can store your credit card details and fill them in whenever you want.
On an iPhone or iPad, this is part of the Safari browser’s settings. head to Settings > Safari > AutoFill > Saved Credit Cards. Tap “Add Credit Card” and enter your credit card details.
You can also control your name and mailing address from the Settings > Safari > AutoFill screen.
When you’re checking out online in the Safari browser, tap one of the credit card fields. You’ll be prompted to fill in that information automatically by tapping the option above the keyboard.
You must authenticate with Touch ID or Face ID before your iPhone fills in the details, so it’s pretty secure.
In the Chrome web browser on a PC, Mac, Android device, or Chromebook, you can enter payment methods that Chrome will remember and offer to you automatically.
To do so, open Chrome and click Menu > Settings > Payment Methods. Click the “Add” button to the right of “Payment methods” add your credit card details here. Make sure the “Autofill forms” option at the top is enabled, too.
You can also click the “Add” button to the right of Addresses to fill in your mailing address.
On Android, tap Menu > Settings > Autofill and Payments > Cards to manage your saved credit cards.
Now, when you’re checking out online, you just have to click a credit card field, and you’ll be prompted to fill in the information.
Chrome requires you enter the security code from the back of the card to authenticate before Chrome actually fills in the details.
This feature is also part of other web browsers, too.
- Safari on a Mac: Click Safari > Preferences > AutoFill > Credit Cards > Edit to edit your saved credit cards.
- Microsoft Edge: Click Menu > Settings > Passwords & Autofill > Manage cards to manage your saved credit cards.
- Mozilla Firefox: This feature is not available in Mozilla Firefox yet. According to Mozilla’s roadmap, it should be added in the next few versions.
Store It In Your Password Manager
If you use a third-party password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or Dashlane, you can have your password manager securely remember your credit card number and offer to fill it, just as it automatically remembers your passwords.
In the LastPass browser extension, for example, you’ll find this feature by clicking the LastPass icon on your browser’s toolbar, clicking “Form Fills,” and clicking “Add Credit Card.” You can also click “Add Form Fill” to save form data like your name, address, and phone number so it can easily be filled.
While on a page with a credit card field, you can click the LastPass icon, click “Form Fills,” and click the name of your credit card to fill in the details automatically.
Of course, you’ll have to sign into your password manager and unlock your vault before these details are available, just like your saved passwords. They’re just as secure as your saved passwords.
You may also be able to fill these details from your password manager into apps on your phone, but it may be a little more complicated. For example, iOS 12’s new password autofill feature only extends to passwords, so you’ll have to use actions to fill credit card numbers from your password manager on an iPhone.
Pay With Apple Pay or Google Pay
It’s worth noting that you can use Apple Pay or Google Pay to skip the credit card process entirely, assuming a website or app supports these payment methods. Unfortunately, most apps and websites don’t support these.
As long as you’ve added your credit card number to Apple Pay, you can tap the “Apple Pay” option in supported applications and on supported websites on your iPhone and in the Safari browser on your Mac. You’ll be able to pay with any saved payment method.
This also applies on Android, where you’ll see a “Pay With Google Pay” option in some apps.
Just select Apple Pay or Google Pay while checking out, if it’s available.
Keep your credit card details away from prying eyes and avoid fraudulent transactions with these tips for shopping online.
It pays to protect yourself when shopping online to avoid getting more than you bargained for.
With high-profile data breaches potentially affecting millions of people, here are some card-specific tips to keep in mind when virtually swiping your plastic.
- Use a credit card. Debit cards often don’t have the same level of fraud prevention and protection
- Only enter details on secure sites. Look for an https connection and valid security certificates
- Don’t send credit card details over email or social media
- Keep your antivirus software and browsers up to date
- Avoid clicking through on deal links from emails as it may be a phishing attempt
- Read more tips for shopping online safely
Turn on your credit card’s added layer of security
Many credit cards will have an additional layer of security that might not be enabled by default. MasterCard’s SecureCode is a one-time code you enter every time you make a transaction on a supported site.
Verified by Visa also requires a passcode to authorize a purchase. On top of these safeguards, some banks also have their own verification system in place that works in place of SecureCode and Verified by Visa. This may include the bank sending a one-time PIN or security code to your phone as a second layer of authorization. Check with your bank or financial institution to see if one of these options is available.
Both Mastercard and Visa offer Zero Liability protection against fraudulent transactions for both online and offline use.
Consider a separate card for online transactions
For those who want to keep online purchases completely separate from everyday credit card transactions, prepaid cards are one option.
They allow you to load a set amount of money at the time of purchase. The advantages are plentiful when it comes to using a prepaid card for online shopping, but the big one is that even if the card’s details are compromised somewhere along the chain, there is a limit to the amount of money that can be taken.
Virtual credit cards
Some banks and financial institutions let you generate a virtual credit card number. This is a single-use number linked to your real card that often has a fixed spending limit and an expiry date. Even if a merchant is compromised and your details are exposed, thieves only get this temporary number. Bank of America calls this ShopSafe and Citi’s version is Virtual Account Numbers.
A third-party option is Privacy, a browser extension for Chrome that links to your bank account. Click the icon in the Chrome toolbar to generate a virtual card on demand and load it with an amount of your choosing. You can create burner cards so numbers self-destruct after use. Privacy is currently only available in the US.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love Chrome. It’s my default browser and I use it all the time for browsing, downloading, chatting, to access my Gmail, Google Docs and so on. But the one thing I definitely wouldn’t use it for is storing my credit card numbers so that it can auto-fill various web-forms for me when I’m shopping online.
The thing is, Chrome lets anyone with physical, or remote access to your computer view the credit card details (numbers, expiry dates, cardholder names, physical/billing addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers) it has saved for you, without being asked to enter a master password first!
While it is true that many online retailers ask for your card’s security code as well in order to process a purchase order, but some don’t so if someone manages to access those details in your Chrome account they can start shopping as if they were you.
And the vulnerability doesn’t stop here. Using the above mentioned details, combined with those available about you on your social media profiles (DOB, company info, alternate email addresses, details you likely used as answers to security questions across various accounts, etc), unauthorized parties can further compromise your personal and financial privacy. For instance, they may call a customer advisor impersonating you to try to have “their” forgotten password reset for “their” email, Internet banking, or other financial accounts.
And it’s not only hackers that may misuse the confidential details Chrome saves for you. Just imagine if your laptop gets stolen, or lost, or your spouse, kids, friends, or colleagues snoop around in your account. If your teenage kids, for instance, find out about this hidden goldmine, they can drain your account quicker than you can say “There goes my savings!”
To prevent those details from being stolen, I’m going to show you how to hide your credit card details from prying eyes. But before that I’ll show you how I could steal your credit card details in just 5 minutes!
Let the countdown begin
Chrome saves your autofill details (credit card, address, passwords) into a special folder on your computer that can be viewed and edited via the Settings option in the browser. So first I click the wrench icon in the top right corner to get there.
I click the Settings option in the resulting window.
Now I scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Show advanced settings.
I’m almost there. By scrolling a bit further down I get to the Passwords and forms section on the page. The Manage Autofill settings options is what I’m looking for.
Here I could find the list of the credit card and address details Chrome has saved for you.
While at the first glance your credit card numbers seem protected as only their last 4 digits are displayed, in a couple of steps I could make Chrome reveal them in full length for me. Let me select the card number at the top to view. By hovering the mouse over the pale Edit tab it gets highlighted and opens the secret door to your credit card details for me.
Let’s click Edit and see what happens.
Voila! I can view your credit card number details in plain text format! And it it were not enough of a privacy threat already, I could equally easily access addresses (and tons of related details you were asked to fill out in the address section) Chrome has saved for you. So now I know your credit card numbers, names on the cards, expiry dates, your home, or billing address, email address(es) and phone number(s)!
How to protect the privacy of your credit card numbers (and address details) saved in Chrome?
Actually, the best thing to do is securely wipe the saved autofill data from Chrome to make sure not only that they can’t be found by unauthorized parties, but also that they can’t be recovered by them using special software tools. It is also wise to turn off the Autofill feature in Chrome and enter your details either manually, or from an encrypted chart each time you need them.
As for securely removing your credit card details and addresses from Chrome, this can be done in minutes with the help of east-tec Eraser. The software employs patterns of random characters to overwrite the confidential data your browser records about you so they can’t be recovered anymore after the wiping process is finished.
Let’s take a look at the few easy steps required to erase your credit card data from Chrome.
First, download the free trial version here.
Then run the software and select Privacy Guard >> Advanced.
In the resulting window select Browsers >> Chrome>> Properties.
Here, make sure to tick the Eliminate saved passwords and form data. Click OK to confirm.
Run a secure wipe by clicking Start.
Once the wipe is finished, your credit card and address data are securely erased from Chrome and you don’t need to worry about unauthorized parties misusing it. If you prefer the convenience of having your credit card and home/billing address details at hand, you can save them in encrypted charts and copy them from there when you need. We’ll talk about that in the next post. How else would you protect your credit card details? Please share in the comments below.