Is online payment 100% secure

Pay securely on the Internet

How to shop risk-free with PayPal, Amazon and Co.

Josefine Lietzau
Expert for banking and credit as of January 06, 2020

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

  • There are many different ways to pay online. The safest way to pay is by invoice; However, not all dealers offer this.
  • In addition to payment methods such as invoice, direct debit or prepayment, there are third-party providers who switch between customer and retailer, for example PayPal or Amazon Pay.
  • When you shop on the Internet, you should always protect sensitive data such as PIN, TAN and passwords.
  • Check whether the online shop from which you want to order is reputable. Is there a proper imprint? What do other customers say in their testimonials?
  • Choose the payment method with the best mix of convenience and security for you.
  • When entering bank or credit card details, always make sure that the connection is encrypted.

Instead of doing the shopping on site, more and more Germans are shopping online. This is more comfortable, but raises new questions when selecting shops and paying - for example: How sure is there any sensitive data?

How do I recognize reliable providers when shopping online?

Serious dealer - In stationary retail, the area and the behavior of the sellers reveal a lot about the business, even if you have never shopped there before. It is more difficult online: A good layout of a website can be put together quickly using the appropriate tools, and the general terms and conditions (GTC) are quickly copied from a law-abiding online shop.

A look into that imprint the site can help. Trustworthy dealers always provide full contact details including address and telephone number. Programs such as Netcraft, which automatically warn of dubious shops or websites, provide further information. The browser extension is available free of charge for Firefox, Chrome and Opera. But also Testimonials other customers can help to identify dubious dealers.

Should you be on one fake shop fall in, make sure to report this to the police. For this you need the documents that the dealer sent you. So always keep the invoice, order confirmation and other messages.

Safe websites - When paying on the Internet, you are sending some sensitive data through the network. This is especially true if you pay by credit card or direct debit. So make sure you only have one encrypted connection shopping. Signs of this are the abbreviation "https" and a small padlock in the address bar of the browser.

Also check your credit card statement regularly. If you see an unknown debit, you can use your Book back credit card provider to let.

Fake emails - The password for your checking account, credit card or payment service is a hit for fraudsters. Many senders of so-called phishing emails therefore aim for such information. In it they simulate problems with online banking or point out security problems. The goal is to get your log-in data. So always look carefully whether e-mails with the sender Paypal are really from Paypal - and do not click on the links in such mails.

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How can I pay on the internet?

Online retailers usually offer you different options for paying. They have advantages and disadvantages for you and the retailer.

Invoice - Paying via an invoice is by far the safest payment method for you: You can wait for the order to arrive safely at your place. Only then do you pay the bill. However, you have to take care of the transfer yourself. It's not always comfortable.

Paying by invoice poses a significant risk for merchants. They deliver before they have their money and have to deal with reminders and debt collection procedures if customers do not pay.

Cash on delivery - When paying by cash on delivery, you first receive your order and then pay. But instead of transferring money, you pay your bill to the postman. For you, this means that you have to be at home when the delivery is made and have the money on hand. In addition, the parcel service usually has to pay high cash on delivery charges. You can usually only check the shipment after you have paid. This can lead to problems with complaints with this payment method.

Direct debit - With some retailers you can also pay by direct debit (direct debit). The process has advantages for you: you pay before you have the delivery, but you can simply get the money back for eight weeks.

Payment in advance - With prepayment, you make an advance payment and pay for your order before the retailer sends it. He only delivers after the money has arrived in his account. This is risky because, in contrast to direct debit, transferred money cannot easily be returned. Fraudsters therefore have an easy job with prepayment. If at all, you should therefore only pay in advance in emergencies. And only for small amounts.

There are also small dealers who only offer prepayment because, for example, they manufacture to order and thus have to secure themselves. However, you should only get involved with clearly trustworthy providers.

Credit card - In most online shops you can pay by credit card. It's quick and easy, after all, all you have to do is type in your details. The dealer can then process the order immediately. Another advantage: you can use credit cards to shop in foreign shops without any problems. But be careful: there are often additional costs due to foreign currency fees and exchange rates.

The credit card companies Mastercard and Visa secure online payments using the so-called 3-D Secure process. This procedure is used to prove that the cardholder actually pays with the card data.

Which third party payment providers are there?

When paying on the Internet, you don't just have to deal with your own bank. Third-party providers are also involved and offer payment options that retailers can incorporate.

Paypal - The American company switches as a third-party provider between the retailer and the bank after you have registered with PayPal. You connect your current account or credit card to the PayPal account and then use an email address as the account number when paying. The account itself is free. In the case of business accounts, however, there are fees for every incoming payment - and in the case of private accounts, for example, if you pay in a currency other than euros.

Instead of sending your data directly to the retailer, you only enter your access data for the PayPal service provider. This then debits the money directly from your account or from a previously set up credit and passes it on to the dealer later. If something goes wrong, you can use PayPal buyer protection. This will give you your money back.

Paydirekt - The German banks and savings banks are behind Paydirekt. As with PayPal, the merchants do not know your account details. You pay by direct debit via your own current account. The dealer will find out immediately that you have paid and can deliver the order. If the seller does not deliver the goods, the bank can get the money back later. As a bank customer, you can use the system free of charge, but you have to register with the account-holding bank.

Giropay - Giropay is also a payment method used by the savings banks and banks. You will be forwarded to your online banking and log in there. Then you initiate a transfer that has already been completed. The retailer receives a payment guarantee and can send the shipment. There is no possibility of a chargeback: If the dealer does not deliver, you have to take legal action.

Sofortüberweisung (Sofort) - Even with Sofortüberweisung, you log in to your bank details and transfer the invoice amount via TAN. The merchant receives a transaction confirmation and can complete the order. In contrast to Giropay and Paydirekt, this payment service is not backed by the banks and savings banks, but by the Swedish Klarna Group.

Klarna - If you use the Swedish service Klarna to pay, you can decide whether you want to pay immediately - by credit card, direct debit, Sofort or bank transfer - or wait until the delivery has arrived. The company also allows you to pay in installments. There are additional fees. Klarna also offers buyer protection if the goods do not arrive or something is wrong with them.

Amazon Pay - The mail order company Amazon processes countless payments in its own shop and also offers this to other retailers. For you, this means that you do not have to create a new customer account if you shop in another online shop via Amazon. The new dealer does not receive any payment details. You only use the login data for your Amazon account and pay with the payment method stored there. In addition, the Amazon guarantee applies to some purchases.

Gift Cards - You can shop with voucher cards without any bank details or other personal information. They are available, for example, at supermarket checkouts and especially for download shops that offer music, games, apps or films. You no longer have to enter credit card details and the like into the network. Instead, you simply type in the code from the card and you can then shop for the amount printed on it.

The cards are particularly popular as gifts or as a credit card alternative. Children and young people, for example, have better control over their expenses. At the same time, the credit limit makes impulse purchases impossible: if you want to spend more money, you need a new card first.

Which payment method is the right one?

You may not be the most convenient way to shop by invoice, but it is definitely the safest way to shop. If this method is not available, direct debit and credit card are also a good mix of convenience and security - provided that the connection is encrypted. And those who know how to protect their access data well cannot go wrong with the common payment service providers such as PayPal or Amazon Pay.

What is the Second Payment Services Directive?

From December 2020 online payments will be more secure. The background to this is a European directive: the Second Payment Service Directive 2, PSD2 for short. It forces merchants to identify customers using two factors when paying on the Internet. It's called strong customer authentication or two-factor authentication.

The possible factors are divided into three categories. The two factors must come from different categories. The categories are:

  • Knowledge, for example passwords or PINs;
  • Possession, for example a credit card or smartphone;
  • Inherence (property or behavior), which includes fingerprints or movements.

Exceptions are available for sums of less than 30 euros, for which the new rules only apply to a limited extent. Customers can pay up to five times in a row without having to identify with two factors. The total amount must not exceed 100 euros. Another exception is if the payment service provider classifies the transaction as secure. Even then, there is no need for strong customer authentication.

At the Pay by credit card In the future, it will no longer be sufficient to enter the card details. The credit card companies are introducing a version of the 3-D Secure procedure that complies with the rules of the Second Payment Services Directive.

Actually, the rules should apply from September 2019. However, since there were problems with implementation, BaFin set a new deadline for December 2020.

What can payment cost?

Basically: long ago not everyone Online shop offers all payment methods at. The large online shops in particular naturally strive to offer as broad a spectrum as possible. Some merchants also charged different fees depending on the method. Since January 13, 2018, this is no longer permitted.

The Second Payment Services Directive prohibits merchants additional fees Demand from their customers when they pay by credit card, bank transfer or direct debit. PayPal has followed suit and usually no longer allows merchants to charge additional fees when paying with PayPal.

If you don't pay

If you order something on the Internet and do not pay for the goods, the retailer will try to get the money anyway. First, he'll send you a reminder and set you a deadline to pay. If you exceed this, the dealer may charge interest on arrears and reminder fees. He can also use a debt collection service provider.

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

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