How to know if a website is secure when paying online

How to know if a website is secure when paying online

Posted on October 13th, 2020 - Written by Leah Labeña

The use of online payments is continuously growing in the digital age, and more and more people have become accustomed to it especially during the current pandemic. Being able to pay online has made it more convenient to get access to things and services without us having to leave our homes, and has also made transactions physically safer for both merchants and buyers as there is no concern over spreading the virus through physical contact. 

However, the risks of online phishing are still ever-present, and you might find your payment information compromised if you are unaware of what makes a website safe to use. Luckily, there are some quick and easy signs that you can spot to know if a website is secure. Here are the things to look for you to know if a website is secure when paying online:

Look for the company’s contact information.

Secure and legitimate websites easily have their contact information available on display for their users and customers. Physical office addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, and social media accounts are the most common things that should be found in a website. Although simply being able to check a website’s contact information might not provide heavy protection as much as the other signs we’re about to lay out, it’s still a worthy factor to check and a good first step in checking if a website is legitimate. It also provides assurance that you may reach out and connect with the company if you have any concerns, may it be related to your personal information or not.

Check if the website uses HTTPS instead of HTTP.

An easy-to-spot indicator of whether a website is safe or not is its URL. Instead of displaying “http”, make sure that the website you’re using to make payments uses “https” in its URL. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and the extra “s” in HTTPS stands for “secure”. The difference between the two is that HTTPS uses SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, which keeps critical information, such as passwords and bank details, encrypted and uninterceptable.

Look for the lock symbol.

Once you’ve checked the website’s URL, just look a little bit more to the left of the address bar to check for a padlock symbol right before the website address. This symbol is another indicator of whether a website is encrypted or not. If you click on it, you’ll be able to see a verification of the website’s security.

Security compliance

All websites that transmit card payments or third payment gateway systems are required to have a PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance certificate. This certificate ensures that the company or website has passed rigorous tests conducted by an authorized independent security company. If a website doesn’t have a security certificate, any information given by users within the website is at risk and makes it easily accessible to crooks.

Government secured license

Check if the website or the third party payment gateway has secured a license from the government. In the Philippines, payment systems must be a registered Operator of Payment System (OPS) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in order to legally process cashless payments.

Double check if you’re transacting in the official website

Scammers create lookalike websites often designed to steal private information and credentials. Users who are unaware of the existence of lookalike websites may fall victim to them as attackers may use familiar brands, logos, and photos in the website to make them look like the original sites. To combat this, enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication for your digital payment methods.

Privacy policy

We get it, privacy statements can be long and tedious to read. However, it wouldn't hurt to check if a website has a privacy policy that you need to agree to if you are particularly concerned about making payments online. It is a must for any website to inform its users about how collected data is protected by the company. Even though you may not read it in full, make sure to check if the website has a privacy policy that you can check and possibly skim through.

With all this talk about security, it’s also safe to say that being able to pay online for bills, services, and products definitely makes our lives easier. Still, we must always be aware of how we can keep our personal information secure in the digital age. We hope this helps you identify unsafe websites and keep your online data protected in the long run.

And if you are a JazzyPay user, you can be assured that your information will stay safe with us, whether you are one of our partner merchants or a merchant payer. We are a registered Operator of Payment System (OPS) of the central bank of the country, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). We have also earned the highest PCI DSS certification level for security by SISA Information Security, ensuring that your information is kept secure and confidential at all times.

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