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You may have considered purchasing something over the Internet and may not have felt comfortable with sharing your credit card number online. If you feel uncertain about this technology and have maybe questioned itís safety, read on to learn all about how it works.
The Internet is a network which is made up of millions of computers worldwide, all of which exchange information with each other. This information goes back and forth between a variety of connections and as with any public line, eavesdropping is a possibility! Lucky for you, these days your browser software contains a feature, which provides you with security and privacy when transacting over the Internet. In fact, the reality today is, using your credit card over the Internet is probably safer than using it over the telephone or regular mail order system. Really!
Not convinced? Let me explain; if you eat out and hand over your credit card to pay, you do so to a complete stranger. Do you know the cashier well enough to trust they wonít jot down your card number and call around billing items to your account? What about when you purchase something by mail order? How do you know the order form with all your credit card details written on it is going to make it safely through the mail system? What about when you give someone your credit card number over the telephone? Whoís listening to your call and whom are you giving the information too?
Using your credit card over the Internet is no more dangerous than these traditional methods, if anything, it is probably safer because many sites work with your browser software to encode your transaction so if outside parties do happen to intercept it, they cannot read it. This is done by using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Handshake Protocol which was developed by Netscape Communications to provide security and privacy over the Internet. In short, this fantastic technology will scramble your details so that it minimises it being read or understood by anyone else. If you are about to enter into a transaction that requires your credit card details, you can check to ensure that SSL is enabled on the page that is asking for your credit card number by your browser displaying a closed gold lock or closed gold key.
Another way to check is, the location bar at the top of your browser which displays the web site address you are at should begin with https rather than http.
Itís at this point where you need to understand that whilst SSL will protect the actual transaction process, you need to protect yourself by dealing only with Internet companies you trust with your credit card details. SSL will deliver safely, but from that point on, the company you are actually purchasing from needs to be safe and trustworthy too! Trusting your judgement or that of your colleagues and doing your homework will assist toward your online purchase being a happy and positive experience.