Pay Online Safely
As more and more people decide to purchase goods online, concerns about the safety of payment methods increase. We’ve taken a look at the different ways to pay at online sites in Spain to help you decide which one to use.
Cash on Delivery
There are still quite a few websites in Spain that will allow you to pay cash on delivery with the advantage that you only pay once the goods are in your hands. However, this is often outweighed by the disadvantages such as:
- When the package is delivered by a third party courier service, normally you can’t open it there and then to check if the contents are what you ordered, or, in the case of clothing, try items on.
- Some Spanish companies use the Post Office rather than a courier, meaning that you’ll have to visit your local Post Office to collect and pay for the items rather than getting home delivery.
- Most companies include a surcharge when you choose this payment method.
Pay by Card
If you’re paying by credit card, ensure that the website shows the security setting https or the padlock icon. Additionally payments by Visa or Mastercard often require a password-protected identity checking system to be completed.
You could also consider getting a prepaid card to use online. In these cases you top up the prepaid card as required and in the case of fraud you’ll only lose the amount loaded on the card. Most banks in Spain offer prepaid cards, although they come with an annual fee of between 9€ to 20€. PayPal also offers a prepaid MasterCard with an annual cost of 5€ and doesn’t charge a top up commission if you use your PayPal account.
The advantage of using PayPal is that your bank details are only kept with a single company rather than being stored in several sites where you shop online. PayPal also offers an arbitration system for when problems arise between buyer and seller, however opinions differ as to whether this system works well.
Only use bank transfers when you actually know the seller as there are many online scams around, such as holiday apartment rentals, that only accept bank transfers.
Once a bank transfer has been carried out many banks won’t let you undo it after a certain number of days (unlike direct debits which can be returned at any time up to 8 weeks after being charged to your account).
Cancelling bank transfers can also be subject to a high commission – some banks charge 0.1% with a minimum 36€ charge!
If you’ve carried out a bank transfer and think you’ve been scammed, report it immediately to the Spanish Police.
Websites that accept online payments tend to fall into three categories:
- Those that don’t require registration and hence won’t keep your payment details. Theoretically these websites are the safest.
- Sites that require registration and store personal details but not payment details. Watch out as some sites state that payment details are stored with their bank.
- Websites that store your payment details when you register, including Amazon or iTunes, as well as many large online department or clothing stores.
Bigger companies normally have better security systems for keeping data safe. However there have been many cases of data theft and not just online.