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By Michael Angier




Web SuccessNet

Buying Online: How Safe Is It?

I got a check in the mail from one of our Gold Members yesterday. No big deal really, except that it's only the second check I've received this year for dues. Our members typically don't pay by check. They pay and renew online with credit or debit card—either directly or via PayPal.

We personally buy lots of things online and think little of it. But there are still a large number of people who are uncomfortable buying online. Entering their credit card into a web form—even on a secure server—causes them too much angst, and they don't do it.

I'm not quite sure why people have no hesitancy in giving their credit card to some waiter in a restaurant or a service station attendant they've never met, but they won't buy online.

Most credit cards limit your liability for unauthorized charges to $50 and some will absorb 100% of any charges made on a stolen credit card.

We're big fans of PayPal—both from a vendor and a customer standpoint. It's easy and it's safe. Instead of having to enter credit card information for each purchase with each different vendor, we just enter it once with PayPal and then use our PayPal account to pay for anything we want.

Not everyone takes PayPal, but if they don't, they're losing business.

With more than 100 million accounts in 55 countries and regions, PayPal offers a fast, affordable and convenient online payment service for both merchants and customers. Every second, PayPal processes an average of $823 in total payment volume.

If you would like to open a PayPal account, it's easy and quick to do. Just go to and follow the simple instructions.

If you're a vendor and would like to have a merchant's account with them, go to

Be sure to review your credit statements carefully and question anything unfamiliar.

Buy through reputable companies.

Be VERY careful to avoid Phishing ploys. This is where you receive an email from what appears to be a bank or a financial institution asking you to update your credit card or password. They are very cleverly disguised. When you go to a web site, it's best to TYPE their official URL into your browser rather than use a link in an email.

Used with a modicum of caution, paying for things online should be no riskier than anywhere else.


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Last Updated 05/06/2006