With so much of our business being conducted online these days, using virtual credit cards is one way to help save money and keep personal information safe when using the Internet. There is no foolproof method to stop personal data theft, but we can take steps to incorporate security into our overall personal finance strategy.
How Bad Is the Data Theft Problem?
Internet Retailer says that from 2012 to 2013, data breaches were up 53.6 percent, and breaches were up significantly for all types of data in 2013, including:
- Payment card data breaches, up 55 percent
- Other data, including personal information and financial credentials, up 45 percent
- Point of sale data breaches at brick-and-mortar outlets, up 33 percent
What Are Virtual Credit Cards?
Virtual credit cards allow you to mask your real account number by creating a one-time virtual number for each purchase. There are two distinct ways to make a purchase while keeping your credit card information private:
- Sites like Google Wallet hold your encrypted credit card information and conduct transactions for you without revealing your information to the merchant.
- Secure a card from a major bank that offers the option of masking your real number.
According to AARP, however, there’s a lack of knowledge about these cards, and the extra layer of protection requires an additional step for the consumer for each purchase. Consumers remain unmotivated because credit card companies do not hold them liable for fraudulent purchases. Take the time to research your options and consult with someone at a trusted financial institution to make a decision that works for you and your loved ones.
Caregivers are liable to incur out-of-pocket expenses related to the care of their seniors, increasing their financial stress. Masking your credit card information — and your senior’s — with virtual credit cards is a great first step in increasing your financial security. Talk to your senior about ways you can protect your information, including the use of virtual credit cards. The more they know, the easier the transition will be.
In addition to worrying about a range of financial issues, you likely worry about your senior’s safety. Time invested in researching your options can not only relieve stress, but allow you to redirect time spent fretting to more productive and fun activities.
As a caregiver, you do everything you can to protect your senior loved one. A medical alert system can bring additional peace of mind to you both.