Is It Safe to Apply Online for a Credit Card?October 25, 2010 - 8:27 am
With so much controversy surrounding the Internet and privacy concerns, it is understandable that consumers are afraid to apply for a credit card online these days. They wonder how safe it actually is and whether or not mailing in the application is the better option.
Fear of fraud and stolen identity prevents many consumers from taking advantage of the online services credit card companies provide for consumers. The ease and convenience of submitting an application online is overshadowed by the concern of being taken advantage of and risking a scam.
Here is what you need to know about online security and your credit card application:
The technology for e-commerce businesses like credit card companies does work and continues to advance all the time. Statistically, completing an online application through a secure website is actually considered to be a safer method than mailing in a paper application. The reason this is reality is due to the handling of your paper application throughout the mail process. Once the envelope is out of your hands, you have no control over who has access to it despite the federal laws.
The technology used by most credit card providers uses Secure Sockets Layer Technology (SSL). The technology ‘encrypts’ the information you type into the computer during the sending process to the bank’s computer. Encryption is a mathematical process which converts information to 128-bits, essentially changing your data to code that is not able to be read. Anyone intercepting your data would only see a bunch of random characters.
If you are concerned about the security of a website, check the URL address bar for the padlock symbol that shows a site is secured and that the address itself begins with ‘https’. If you are still unsure, contact the company directly and ask for security specifics.
Why Apply Online
A major benefit to applying for a credit card online is the ability to instantly view and compare multiple cards so you can pick the card that best meets your needs. If you are only relying on the promotional offers received in your mail box, you may be missing out on a better deal offered by another company.
The other advantage of online applications is it is instant. When you submit your application, it is there at the bank in seconds. With paper applications, you have to wait weeks for delivery and an answer. Approvals online can be instantaneous in some cases or at least faster than mail-in applications.
Applying for a credit card online is also convenient. Companies not only offer a user-friendly application to complete, they also provide resources and other information to help consumers better understand their credit, finances, and the specifics of individual credit cards. Websites often contain information and exclusive to Internet users.