Corporate Responsibility

Online payments, risk-free

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How to protect your “vital data” from attackers.

Ultimately, retailers want money for their goods, whether they are online or in a bricks-and-mortar store – there’s no difference. But whereas you would never have initiated a transaction with a shady business downtown, legitimate merchants are harder to recognize online. That’s why you want to wrap up your purchases with the least risk possible. Read about which payment methods you can use.

Illustration "Online payments, risk-free"

Hide your banking info from online sellers.

Only make payments to legitimate sellers

No matter which payment method you use, only enter your account or banking information on sites that you feel are secure. 

Familiarize yourself with these payment methods

  • Prepayment
    Merchants often mistrust new customers too. Even so, you should always approach prepayment and advance transfer arrangements with caution . The goods are only shipped after the money has been credited to the merchant’s account. When it comes to scammers, you will wait in vain. If the shop really does not offer any other payment type, gather information about the provider online and look for indications of a legitimate shop (Link zum Artikel). But even in the case of legitimate merchants, you run the risk of chasing down your money or even losing it, for example if the company becomes insolvent or goes bankrupt.
  • Billed payments
    Shipping with deferred billing is not a popular option with merchants, because if there are problems, they are the ones who have to chase up their money. For you as the buyer, however, purchase on account is the least risky option, because you only pay for the goods once you receive them in good order. 
  • Cash on delivery
    With COD orders, you pay the delivery agent directly for your shipment. However, this incurs charges that are added to the shipping costs. At first glance, cash on delivery may seem secure. However, as you can only inspect the condition of the goods after you have handed the money to the delivery agent, there is a risk that there is something entirely different in the package – or that you will be cheated by a knock-off (LINK ZUM ARTIKEL). 
  • Direct debit
    In an electronic direct debit (DD) procedure, you grant the merchant (one-off) approval to debit the unpaid bill amount from your current account. Many merchants put off collecting the money until you have received the goods. However, the direct debit is also often processed before shipping. Still, when you compare it to COD or prepayment, you have the advantage that you can stop a direct debit through your bank. This returns the money to you in dubious cases. However, this also means that the merchant has your account information. If they do not handle it with care, data thieves could copy it from them. 
  • Giropay
    Are you using the online services of your regular or savings bank? If so, you can also use Giropay if the merchant offers this method. It was developed in a joint effort by regular, savings, and Raiffeisen banks. After you have selected Giropay in the shop, enter your bank routing code. This will automatically take you to the online banking interface of your bank. After login, you will find a transfer form that has already been completed. Use this to pay the outstanding bill. The advantage to you: Your account information does not reach the seller. Basically, however, it is a conventional bank transfer. In other words, you cannot simply have the funds returned to you, not even if there are problems with the goods. 
  • Instant transfer
    This method also involves initiating a transfer, but not right in the bank’s online banking interface. Instead, you enter your PIN and TAN in a form, and the payment provider uses them to make a transfer at your bank, also checking to make sure it is covered. This step happens immediately during checkout, so this transfer is also a form of prepayment. 
  • PayPal
    This company was once owned by eBay and was meant to make payments easier in its marketplace. PayPal acts as a broker. Both customers and merchants must register with the company. If the merchant offers PayPal as a payment option, you are taken to the login page of the service, where you will log in and pay the amount from an account stored with PayPal. This can be a current account or a credit card. If PayPal can debit the amount, payment is considered complete. The merchant receives a message on their system telling them that they are receiving their money. The merchant therefore does not gain any information about your bank account or credit cards. PayPal has gained in popularity because it acts as a broker and offers guarantees to both merchants and customers. If something is wrong with the goods or the merchant, PayPal will refund the purchase price to you if there are any doubts. 
  • Paydirekt
    This fairly new payment method, launched by regular and savings banks in Germany, is intended to compete with PayPal. From the point of view of the customer, it works in a similar way. But unlike PayPal, the money is transferred directly between the bank and the merchant. You have to sign up with Paydirekt in order to use the service. This will allow you to make future direct payments by logging on with your Paydirekt data. The money comes directly from your current account; the merchant does not receive your bank account information. Paydirekt also offers buyer protection. If the merchant is unable to deliver the goods, you get your money back. 
  • Credit card payments
    While credit cards are part of everyday life in the United States, they are less popular as a payment method in online shops in Germany. All well-known providers now offer double security for online shop transactions. You enter the credit card number, expiration date, and security code. After that, you must go to a special page of the issuing bank and either enter a TAN sent to you in a text, or enter a TAN from a preprinted pad, in order to approve the transaction. The amount is then debited and the merchant receives their money. Even credit card payments can be canceled. However, this is not as easy as reversing a debit. Still, credit card payments in online stores abroad are easy, so credit card numbers are in high demand among criminals. For this reason, you should only enter this data on legitimate websites and be especially vigilant about phishing attacks.

Further reading