The internet used to be intimidating for many, and still can be for some. But thanks to modern technology and security advances—like encrypted networks and password-protected websites—the internet is a place where you can connect, work, shop and yes, even bank. And while you may be a bit hesitant to apply for a credit card online, there are some precautions you can take that might give you some peace of mind.
Keep your devices updated
Whether you’re using a personal computer or a public one, your financial information should be between you and your bank, that’s it. So if you’re applying for a new card, or simply checking your accounts, make sure the computer you use—or smartphone or tablet if you’re on a mobile app—is up to date with security technology. Install the latest anti-malware and regularly accept updates and patches from the anti-malware provider so it remains effective at keeping your private information out of the wrong hands.
Use a secure network
When you’re on the go, public wi-fi networks are a convenient way to keep you connected. Unfortunately not all are secure. For tasks where you may share private information, protect yourself by only visiting websites that are encrypted—the Web address should start with https:// instead of http:// and you will see a lock-shaped icon next to the address bar. Capital One Cafés offer free, secure internet access for anyone in need of a place to safely bank online.
Protect your password
Never share the passwords for your computer and accounts, and try to make them difficult to guess. One way is to use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers—a neat trick is to use numerals as replacements for letters that look like them. For instance, “password” might become “Pa55w0rd.”
Secure your card
Knowing how and where to safely apply online is just one way to reduce the risk of identity theft. But even after you’ve received a credit card, the potential for fraud still exists. Luckily, some financial apps can provide real-time notifications for every purchase made with your card, keeping you informed and protected from fraud in the future credit card fraud.