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Tips for shopping by mail order, by phone or on the Internet

Shopping over the phone or by mail order

  • If you give your card details to a shop or retailer over the phone, make a note of the phone number, shop name, the date and time of your call, and the name of the person who recorded your credit card number.
  • Know with whom you are dealing – make sure to get the seller's phone number (preferably a landline number as some mobile phone numbers are untraceable) and a postal address (make sure it is not a P.O. Box).

Shopping on the Internet

Buying goods on the Internet takes almost all of the physical effort out of shopping, enables you to shop around the world and helps you to find the very best deals. For these reasons (and many more) shopping on the Internet has become hugely popular with Irish consumers. In fact, as much as 20%-30% of Irish debit card (e.g. Laser, Visa Debit, Maestro) and credit card (e.g. Visa and MasterCard) transactions are now carried out in a Card Not Present (CNP) environment. If you follow a few of our simple guidelines there is no reason why shopping on the Internet should be any less secure than shopping on the high street. You have many of the same, if not more, consumer rights!

  • Know with whom you are dealing. Try to find out as much as you can about the retailer before you purchase anything from them. Use shops that your friends and colleagues have used successfully or ones that you have heard about through trusted sources.
  • Make sure your Internet access is secured. The beginning of the retailer's Internet address should change from 'http' to 'https' before a purchase is made. This indicates that you are using a secure connection.
  • Click on the security icon (the padlock or unbroken key symbol) to ensure that the retailer has an encryption certificate. The link should describe the type of security and encryption being used.
  • Make sure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring. These safety options are not always activated by default when you purchase and install your computer.
  • Print out or save a copy of your order as well as the retailer's terms and conditions and return policies. There may be additional charges such as local taxes and postage, particularly when you purchase from abroad.
  • Ensure you are fully aware of any payment commitments you are entering into, including whether you are instructing a single payment or a series of recurring payments.
  • If you have any doubts about giving out your card details, end the transaction and purchase your goods elsewhere.
  • Be cautious about emails claiming outrageous offers. Generally if they sound too good to be true, they are!
  • If you use a password to log on to your network or computer, use a different password for orders or retailer accounts. Some websites may require you to create a password for future orders. Avoid using your address, birth date, phone number or easily recognisable words. The best passwords are alpha-numeric (using letters and numbers) and at least 8 characters in length.
  • 3D Secure is a tool available to cardholders which protects your MasterCard or Visa Card against unauthorised Internet use.  3D Secure enables you to verify that you are the actual cardholder in a similar way to keying in a PIN at the Point of Sale. Contact your bank or card issuer today to find out more about registering for using 3D Secure.