Vidya Kathirgamalingam - 12 Feb, 2020

Keep track of your credit when shopping online

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One of the biggest life changes that the past decade has seen is that most people now shop from the comfort of their own home.

Online stores have now overtaken shopping centres due to the diversity of their products and ease of access. But the convenience has come at a price. You are now more vulnerable to scams, theft and overspending.

While you might be saving the time and effort, you are more likely to be losing money.

If you a serial online shopper, it’s important that you know how to keep track of your credit.

Here are some crucial tips on how you can make sure you are spending wisely:

1. Is the website I’m buying from safe?  

According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Australians lost a total of $4,839,952 to online shopping scams in 2019 (with 55.7% of the losses from male customers). So how can you stay safe? 

  • When visiting online stores, look for a padlock or a ‘HTTPS’ next to the hyperlink of the website. This means that the website is encrypted and harder for scammers to intercept.
  • It is also wise that you install security or anti-virus software on your computer as a precaution.
  • Check customer reviews for reassurance that the store is a trusted source.

People can  follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts to get up-to-date warnings.

Related: How to spot and beat a scam

2. Keep all your receipts and credit card statements!

With almost any product available at just a click-of-the-button, it’s too easy to go over your budget or lose track of what you’ve purchased online. A simple way to start tracking your spending is to keep your online receipts, credit card statements and reference numbers from your purchases. Keeping a record of all your information ensures that you have evidence of your purchases in case there’s an issue with your order.


3. Don’t forget your Afterpay payments!

Afterpay makes everything seem so much more affordable, but the ‘I’ll pay for it later’ mindset can put you at risk of accumulating a hefty debt. One way you can avoid this situation is to check your dashboard on the Afterpay App to check how much you owe.

Make sure to check that payments align with the transactions listed on your bank account so that you are sure that you have been charged correctly. If you’re the forgetful type it pays to set up reminders on your phone to stay on top of your payments.

To find out more: Do Zip Pay and Afterpay affect your credit score?

4. Know your rights

Did you know that consumer rights still apply when shopping online? You have a right to not be misled and you have a right to ask for refunds, cancellations or compensation when necessary. While you will be inclined to skip over the fine print, it’s important that you actually read the terms and conditions of the store before you accept them so you know what you’re buying and are aware of the store policies and restrictions.

6.  Use credit cards or PayPal over debit cards  

Any online shopper will be familiar with the dreaded experience of receiving something that looks completely different to the item you purchased. If you are buying with a credit card or using Paypal, you may be able to ask for a ‘chargeback.’ A chargeback will involve the return of funds from the retailer to your line of credit and will be initiated by your bank. This is a good protection to have in case you are unsatisfied with what you have received.

Related: Best books and podcasts about money to help manage home finances

7. Watch out for International Transaction Fees

One of the perks of online shopping is that you can now access products from all corners of the world. However it’s important to be aware of the international transaction fees that you may be incurring. The fees typically sit at about 3% of the purchase price and can be avoided through using fee-free credit cards or sticking to Australian-based stores.

Words by Vidya Kathirgamalingam

If keeping track of your credit is already too much to handle, let eChoice help you to manage your home loan. Contact one of our experienced brokers so that you can stop stressing and start planning.

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