Credit Cards and False Ideas About Security

This issue is becoming a bit of a bugbear and its clear that some people have got entirely the wrong end of the stick. The conversation goes like this…….

“I’ve phoned you with my order because I don’t want to use my card on the internet. Its not secure”

Well I am sorry but if you’re paying by card then its going on the internet! Why?

Website CheckoutIf you order online at our website then you’ll see a form like this. You fill it in with all your name and address details and then press “Place Order” and at that point my website shunts over to Barclays website where they have top level security and its their system that takes your card details. This is secure as it gets.

I don’t see your card details. They never enter my PC. I have no record of them and I can’t access them.WWW

Barclays send me a `token’ which is basically saying they’ve checked you’re good for the money and that I am OK to pack and ship your order. When I have done so I process that token, again on their website and again I don’t see your card details. At this point they actually take the money from your card and, eventually, send it to my bank account. All this is done on the internet.

Web TerminalIf you phone me with an order here is what happens. You probably catch me away from the PC or without the PC turned on so your order and card details get written down. When next at the computer I fire up the internet and log on to Barclays WWWWeb Terminal and enter all those details just written down. I do it on a form that looks like the one to the right.

I am entering all the same details you could be typing in and doing it on, effectively, the same form you could have used and its all done on the internet 

If you see us at a show and pay by credit card then chances are you will be presented with a gadget that looks like thisCard Terminal. This is the Blielatest thing in card readers and its even more `space age’.

First of all the card reader is talking to my phone via Bluetooth which is a short range radio protocol.


WifiNext up my phone is connecting to the outside world via WiFi  which is a longer range radio protocol and is now often provided freely at venues but I also have my own WiFi unit that connects to the mobile phone signal.



After all of that the connection is made to the bank via the internet




There is no escape. Even if you think, “I’ll use cash! That’ll show them”, you’re out of luck as the cash machine checks with your bank to see if you’re good for the cash via the internet



So I guess what I am saying is that ordering online is at least as safe as any other method and probably safer. There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Firstly only go to the payments page via the website you are shopping on.
  • Don’t go to any payments pages sent in e-mails from people you don’t know
  • Check in the address bar at the top of the payments page that the address start https://  [the S is the important bit as it denotes a secure connection]Secure Sign


I could probably have used bigger and more technically accurate words and left you bemused in the process but I think that is a reasonable layman’s description

2 thoughts on “Credit Cards and False Ideas About Security

  1. Paul, I don’t have a problem using the internet to make payments using my cards. I do though have a problem with the many suppliers – not you! – who use PayPal to service their credit card payments because PayPal are super-choosy about which credit cards they accept, not on security grounds but on the basis that they will only accept cards which will earn them, i.e. PayPal, the most bucks. Unsurprisingly they won’t accept mine, so I pay by bank transfer which is easy, quick and actually costs the trader less. Here, with a more sophisticated banking system, paying (and even actually placing the order) using secure bank transfers is the norm and every trader publicises his bank account details for the purpose – if he doesn’t the fisc assumes that he is trading in the black, and a “special inspection” soon follows.

    • Currently I don’t accept PayPal but I am as guilty as the next man for using it if offered just for the convenience. When I cut over to my new website the Barclays Payment Gateway version used in that offers it as an alternative to using card details. In the UK its not the done thing to display ones bank details but people can arrange directly with me to pay that way and is more often than not used to pay for installs and custom works I do for customers. At the moment it would be a real pain and use multiple systems to check the money had been received before shipping the goods until the payment gateway integrated with the bank which isn’t necessarily the same one that is providing the payment gateway. Always on the look out for new ways to do stuff though.

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