How to Pay Online With a Credit Card

Today, almost all transactions that you do in person you can do online without having to leave your home. While making online purchases is much more convenient, you often need to have a major credit card, debit card, prepaid card, or gift card. Checks are rarely accepted, and cash is definitely not an option. If you don’t make online purchases often, completing a transaction can be confusing the first few times. Here are some instructions for paying online with a credit card.

Before You Make a Purchase

Fill your shopping cart by clicking “Add to Cart” or “Add to Bag” on each item you wish to purchase. When you’re done, click the “Checkout” button (usually at the top right of the screen). You may have to click on the shopping cart first, then select an option to check out. Review your cart to make sure you have added the correct quantity, size, and color of the item you wish to purchase. Then, you can start the buying process.

As with all credit card purchases, make sure you have sufficient credit available in your account before completing the transaction. Otherwise, your transaction may be rejected and you will have to find another payment method. And, if you haven’t used a credit card in a while, you should also make sure it’s active.

5 Steps to Pay Online With a Credit Card

Once you are on the checkout page, you will need to enter some information to complete the transaction.

1. Enter your Shipping Address

Shipping addresses allow merchants to calculate your shipping price and update your total purchase. Make sure you enter the address to which the order was sent, even if it is different from the billing address where you received the credit card statement. You will also usually be given options and prices for different types of shipping.

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2. Select ‘Credit Card’ as your Payment Method

Sometimes there will be an option to select the type of credit card you are using, such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, or a store credit card. If your credit card processor is not listed in the box, the merchant does not accept that type of credit card. You must use another type of credit. You’ll find this more often with American Express and Discover than with Visa or Mastercard.

3. Enter your info as it appears on your credit card

Check your credit card to verify that you have entered your name correctly. Then, enter your credit card information: credit card number, expiration date, and security code. For Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, a three-digit security code will be printed on the back of the card after the credit card number. The four-digit security code for American Express credit cards is printed on the front right of the card, just above the credit card number. If you use an unbranded store credit card with a major credit card company, you won’t be asked for a security code.

4. Enter your Credit Card Billing Address

This is the address where you receive your credit card statement. Note that this address may be different from the shipping address, for example, if your report is sent to the post office but you want your order delivered to your home or to someone as a gift. The billing address must be entered correctly for your credit card transaction to be successful. Check your credit card statement if you are unsure of the correct billing address.

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5. Verify Your Information

Once you have entered everything and clicked on the button to continue, you will usually be taken to a verification screen where you can review everything you have entered. Once you make sure that everything is accurate, click the button to complete your order.

It’s a good idea to keep track of your online credit card purchases. Record every purchase along with the amount charged, and don’t forget to note when your credit card bill payment is due. Pay before the due date to avoid late fees and finance fees.

How to Solve Payment Problems

If your credit card is declined, verify that you have entered every information accurately: your name, billing address and credit card details. Even a single diverted number can cause an error in the transaction.

You may have to use a different credit card if the card continues to be declined even after you verify that all the information is correct.

Should You Keep Your Credit Card Information?

Many online merchants allow you to create a profile with a username and password and store your credit card, shipping, and billing information. This allows you to make future “one-click” purchases with the credit card details you have stored. You can save time on your next purchase because you don’t have to re-enter your payment information (unless something changes).

On the downside, it makes it easier for you to make an impulse purchase or someone with your login details to make a purchase without having your credit card information. If you store your credit card information online, it may also be vulnerable to hacking or data breaches. However, to protect against fraud, many online payment systems will also ask you to enter a card security code, which is not stored.

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More Payment Options

Instead of entering your credit card information directly, you can use services like PayPal, Apple Pay, or Venmo for payment processing. Before you can use this for checkout, you must create an account and register your credit or debit card. Then, when you’re ready to make a purchase, choose one of the other payment options. You will only enter your username and password for certain services, and third parties will process transactions with the payment information you have on file. Note that not all online stores accept these other payment options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is online payment with my credit card safe?

Paying online with a credit card is generally considered safe and, because of the added security features, can be even more secure than using an online debit card. If someone steals your credit card information, you will only be responsible for $50 of all fraud charges—as long as you notify your bank within two business days.

Can I use a credit card for online recurring payments?

Yes, you can use your credit card to set up automatic payments to pay bills, for subscription services, or anywhere else that requires automatic or scheduled payments.

What is a virtual credit card number for online payments?

Many credit card issuers today offer cardholders a virtual payment card, which is a temporary credit/debit card number created online or through an app that replaces your permanent credit card number. This number can be used once to make online purchases from your account. If the card number is stolen or compromised, the number cannot be used again.

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