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Credit Card Payment: Is it Safe or Not? Essay

Credit cards are small and thin plastic cards that contain a microchip and allow the owner to charge some purchases, fees, and other expenses and pay these later. There are several terms and conditions that are enclosed with the application of credit cards but nonetheless, the number of credit cards issued to the public is increasing. Along with this, concerns regarding the safety of credit card as a mode of payment abound that somehow brings an alarm to the credit card users.

With the association of fraudulent transactions with that of credit cards, safety of consumers remains at risk compared to cash payments. First, there is a greater risk of credit card fraud with every transaction made with a merchant who is not as trustworthy as those affiliated with big establishments. Especially for web-based merchants who ask for payments to be made through credit cards, there is always a loophole left for overcharging or misuse of the credit card information provided as the security of the World Wide Web remains questionable.

Wang (2003) claims that there is a little chance of credit card fraud occurring in the Internet because of the complexity of tapping into the account during the time when the

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credit card number is sent and the need to surpass the encryption programs of websites. Likewise, there is also the possibility that employees of the organizations who handle credit card-related transactions may also tamper with the information and charge other purchases without permission from the credit card owner (Wang, 2002). In addition to this, credit card theft is also rampant.

Credit card thieves contact certain organizations or merchants to sell them the names and credit card numbers of customers (Siegel, 2008). After which, these information are embossed into the plastic cards and then the owners are contacted with offers and the like to acquire the verification code from them (Siegel, 2008). In an instant, the credit card thieves could easily and conveniently charge purchases without the owner immediately knowing it (Siegel, 2008). A less simpler way to do this is to use the credit cards that are physically stolen until it has been reported lost or stolen (Siegel, 2008).

For the merchants and retail establishments which allow credit card payments, the responsibility for fraudulent transactions are always on their side and not with the banks (Carroll & Broadhead, 2001). When there are disputes or chargebacks received from customers who claim that they did not purchase anything from the merchant, it is often too late, as the goods are already shipped to the address provided when the order was placed (Carroll & Broadhead, 2001). Likewise, the impact on the level of security, as perceived by the customers, is also affected, as fraudulent transactions are able to get through the system.

Aside from the threats to security, there are also hidden charges that are levied against the user. Castellanos (1999) discusses the importance of knowing the hidden charges and the types. These hidden charges also add to the financial burden of the credit card users and may outweigh the benefits derived from the use of credit cards. Likewise, there are promos and marketing schemes released by issuers of credit cards that encourage individuals to purchase and spend without clearly seeing the benefits and the costs.

There are different measures undertaken by merchants, organizations, and groups in order to minimize the impact of threats associated with the use of credit cards. However, there is still work that remains to be done in terms of intensifying the security measures provided against physical and virtual theft of credit cards. Likewise, it is also important to educate the credit card owners of these threats and instruct them on the steps that are to be taken when these occur.

Inevitably, credit card is not a safe method of payment due to the existence of fraudsters and the low level of awareness exhibited by the users. References Wang, W. (2002). Steal this computer book 3. San Francisco, CA: No Starch Press, Inc. Siegel, L. (2008). Criminology. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education. Carroll, J. & Broadhead, R. (2001). Selling online: How to become a successful e-commerce merchant. Chicago, IL: Dearborn Trade. Castellanos, L. (1999). The Latino guide to personal money management. Princeton, NJ: Bloomberg Press.

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