PayPal or Credit Card—Which is Safer?

Find out whether PayPal or a credit card is the best way to stay safe from fraud and prevent identity theft when making online purchases.

Laura Adams, MBA
5-minute read
Episode #266

PayPal or Credit Card?

Tip #7: Don’t Click on Links in Emails from PayPal

Cyber criminals commonly send “phishing” emails that look like an official message from PayPal, but are fakes. When you click a link in the email, you’re taken to a dummy website that looks just like the real thing—complete with the PayPal logo. If you enter your confidential information on a criminal’s site, they’ve got what they need to steal from you.

If you receive an email from any of your financial accounts, don’t risk getting tricked. Instead, manually type in the website address and log in to your account to look for communication from the company.

Is It Safer to Use PayPal or a Credit Card?

Now, let’s get back to Sarah’s question about whether PayPal keeps you safer. The real answer is “it depends” because PayPal has advantages and disadvantages.

Using PayPal does limit the number of merchants who have direct access to your credit or debit card number, while giving you the same card rewards. PayPal says they never give your financial information to sellers or merchants, and that they protect you from fraud if it’s reported within 60 days.

However, PayPal is the world’s most popular payment system, which makes it a big target for cyber crime. That could hurt you if you’re not savvy enough to spot it or don’t use a security key.

Both PayPal and a credit card offer the same level of protection from fraud—if you follow the 7 tips covered here and put up a tight wall of security for all your online purchases.

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More Articles and Resources You Might Like:

The Best High-Yield Checking Accounts for 2012

6 Simple Tools to Protect Your Privacy and Prevent Identity Theft – includes audio interview with an identity theft expert

Photo: Online Shopping from Shutterstock


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.