By Elizabeth Adegbesan
ONE of the fallout of the cashless policy and rapid deployment of electronic payment channels is online payment.
Online payment is the use of internet based platforms to pay for goods and services. According to the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, NIBSS, Nigerians made 33.43 million transactions worth N183.07 billion via the internet from January to September this year.
Like other electronic payment channels, online payment has several benefits and disadvantages. To enjoy the benefits you must be aware of the risks and disadvantages and how to protect yourself against them.
Benefits of online payments
Convenient and cheap: You can make online payment from anywhere, using your mobile phone or laptop. Hence it saves you the stress and time of going to the bank, or ATM or even using PoS to pay.
Online payment is fast and mostly immediate.
It reduces the risk of fraud if properly managed.
Disadvantages of online payments
Online payments are subjected to service fee when using a bank transfer or credit card and data subscription service fees.
Online payment methods are inconvenient for offline sales.
Cybercriminals can exploit online payments’ processes to steal people’s money or bank account information.
Due to its reliance on telecommunication infrastructure, technical problems such as network failure can disrupt the transaction process.
Safety tips for online payment
It is important to keep your online payment device secure and up to date, but your method of payment can also help you avoid problems. The following are methods of payments and tips on how to use them online.
Credit card: A credit card is often an excellent choice for shopping online. Use your credit card only when you’re confident that it’s safe to do so. For better protection, ask your card issuer for a Virtual or single-use credit card for online purchases. This provides you with various alias credit card numbers for the same account. It allows you to shop safely without worrying about your credit card number being stolen.
Payment Services: Payment services are also a good option for online payments. GTpay, Etranzact, Quickteller amongst others are popular services. Payment services enable you to keep information about your credit card number or bank account information in one central location (at etranzact for example) instead of providing such information to every website you shop with.
Debit Cards: Debit cards are payment cards that pull funds directly from your bank account. You don’t need to apply, get approved, pay annual fees, or risk piling up debt like you would with a credit card. A debit card is linked directly to your bank account which is prone to fraud. To mitigate fraud while using your debit card for online payment, you should limit the use of debit cards for everyday purchases. You can also get a prepaid card which helps to protect your bank account from any problem.