The isks of Applying for a Prepaid Credit Card Online

Many people are able to find a prepaid card online without any problems, but there are a few risks to consider when applying for a card online. Since prepaid card applications require a social security number even though there is no credit check required, there is an increased risk of identity theft. Most of the time when applying for the card online, customers will have to pay for the card before it will be shipped to them. This leaves an increased risk of paying for an item that may never arrive. 

What Information Does an Application for a Prepaid Card Online Require?

An application for a prepaid card will require the customer to provide their: name, address, phone number, and social security number. This is required as a result of the American Patriot Act. The information is stored by the card issuer so it can be treated as a regular credit card, as there is an equal risk for theft with a prepaid card as there is a traditional credit card. This information will be required regardless of whether the application is completed online or in person.

When the application is completed in person, there is a reputable vendor in place. If the information is compromised with an in person application, there is an inclination of who or what business misused the information. If the application is filed online, there is no way to tell where the information is going or who will be able to see it. Not all information transferred across the Internet is secure, so even if the information ends up in safe hands, it may be seen by others along the way.

How to Determine if a Card Application is Safe

Online applications may be difficult to validate. Many security programs will help users determine the safety of a website, by providing information on the security certificate used to secure the information from potentially prying eyes. If there is not a certificate present, or conflicting information is presented to the program, it will alert the user of the inconsistency or lack of the certificate. If a user proceeds past this point and the information on the application is compromised, it is at the consumer's risk. 

If the website domain doesn't seem as though it makes sense to be marketing a prepaid card, the customer may risk paying for a prepaid card that he or she may never receive. If there is any doubt about the validity of the website or company providing the cards, it is easy to conduct a quick search in a search engine with the company name and the word "scam" to see if any other users have experienced anything strange with the company. As another security measure, customers could also run the business name through the Better Business Bureau, but not all businesses will be listed with the organization. 

When applying for a prepaid credit card online, it is very important to ensure the information is secure and the company is reputable. If there is any doubt, apply for a card in person. Getting the card in person will also allow the customer to avoid fees and start using it immediately.


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