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Credit card protection

In some ways, online shopping is safer with a credit card because it gives you more protection than a debit card.

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you use a credit card for purchases between £100-£30,000:

  • your purchases are protected

  • your card issuer will help you get your money back if your seller doesn't deliver your goods or goes bankrupt

  • there are checks to make sure it’s actually you using the card

But you still need to take care – so make sure you don't give your credit card details to anyone you don’t trust. 

Explore: How to shop safely online

Credit card security code

Every credit card has a unique 3-digit card security code printed on it. It can also be called a CVV code – card verification value. This provides extra protection against fraud when you buy things online or over the phone. 

The only place it appears is directly on the physical card – usually on, or near the signature strip. So, when a retailer asks for your security code – they’re essentially asking for proof you have the card in your possession.

How to prevent credit card fraud

Most credit card fraud can be prevented by following some simple rules.

  1. Never give out your card details in response to unsolicited phone calls, or emails. If you need to give your banking information for an offer or prize, this should trigger alarm bells.

  2. If you’re buying something online, research the product and supplier. It can be a good idea to read customer reviews before you buy, and check if there have been complaints.

  3. Check in your web browser that the site's address starts with ‘https’ before entering any of your personal details – this means it’s a secure site.

  4. Sign up for verification services like Verified by Visa, or Mastercard Secure.

  5. If you’re using a public computer, avoid entering personal information as there may be malware that records your details.

It’s also a good idea to check your bank statements regularly and credit report annually. Your credit report contains information about your credit history.

You can get a copy of your credit report from companies such as:

  • Equifax

  • Experian

  • TransUnion

How do you report identity fraud?

If you believe you’ve been the victim of credit card fraud, contact your card issuer immediately. In most cases, you’ll be able to reclaim any stolen funds.

If you’re an HSBC customer, you can report a problem here

Victims of identity fraud should also contact the 3 main credit rating agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If someone has your credit card details, they may be able to apply for credit in your name. It’s possible to stop the fraud, but removing damaging credit information from your report can take time.

You should also report online credit card fraud to Action Fraud – the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.