Holiday Shopping Tips and Hints
Before you shop online, be mindful of safety and spending.

Submitted by ltownsend on November 18, 2020

The 2020 holiday shopping is projected to be just as popular as ever, even with Covid-19 and all its restrictions. Here’s a peek at some numbers that show just how popular.

Holiday Shopping graph Did you know?

  • 65% of shoppers will shop online?  (Source: Deloitte)
  • In 2020, 42% of all online shopping is done from smartphones (up 55% from last year) (Source: Adobe)
  • More than 50% of all Black Friday shoppers chose credit when checking out online in 2019. About 25% all Black Friday online shoppers used PayPal. (Source: PYMNTS)

Online retailers are ready for the holidays. Are you?

Before you get online to find the perfect presents for your loved ones, remember to be mindful of safety and spending to make your holidays stress-free. 

You’ve heard it time and again: be safe when shopping online. Don’t let your guard down and carelessly click on a mysterious link or web address that will expose you to unwelcome cybertheft. Retail is the most targeted industry for phishing and identity theft, and during the holidays cybercriminals are more active than usual.  To avoid becoming a victim, keep in mind these online shopping safety tips:

  • Change your passwords frequently: Have different passwords for bank, email, and shopping accounts.
  • Keep your operating software up to date: For your desktop computer, table and mobile phone.
  • Vigilantly monitor your bank accounts and credit report: Report any suspicious activity immediately
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi to shop online: It’s okay to take a break and grab a cup of coffee at the corner café, but don’t hook up to shop online while you are there.
  • Beware of amazing deals and new-to-you stores: Vet a new store before you purchase from them. Look for customer support access, package tracking and return policies. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not good at all.
  • Know the difference between a retailer and a marketplace: Some shopping sites are simply “marketplaces” where sellers can list their goods their goods for sale. The marketplace site may not offer any support when it comes to returns or exchanges.
  • Add extra security by using a credit card and not a debit card: A credit card doesn’t give a seller direct access to the money in your bank account, plus most credit cards offer $0 liability for fraud.
  • Track your purchases: After you make an online purchase, keep tabs on it to make sure it’s headed your way.

Along with shopping online safely, it’s always a good idea to have a strategy for holiday spending. 
Going over budget can be easy to do when you get caught up the excitement of the holiday. These dollar-saving hints will help you spend less, but enjoy the spirit just as much:

  • Make a budget that includes spending limits and non-gift expenses like parties, food, decorations, travel and lodging … and stick to it.
  • Look for free shipping for online purchases. Be sure to check out all the shipping options for purchasing multiple gifts on one site.
  • Sign up for newsletters, promos and rebate offers to receive discounts and coupons for future purchases.
  • Take advantage of rewards points available on credit card accounts and loyalty programs.
  • Comparison shop by using a price-tracking app (such as ShopSavvy or BuyVia) to find the best deals for the products you are interested in.

Here’s to safe shopping online this holiday season, and to stress-free spending.