Shopping Online in Australia: Choosing the Best Payment Option

If you shop online in Australia (like in the rest of the world) there is a whole host of payment options available for you to choose from when making payment options. Whilst some payment options can only be used on certain sites generally debit and credit cards are accepted everywhere. However payment security is something to be mindful of when shopping online and some payment methods are more secure than others. In this article we’re going to examine some of the most popular choices and evaluate their security.

Debit Cards

You might think that debit cards would be very secure when shopping online but this is unfortunately not always the case. Whilst debit cards have a reasonable amount of security and are held under banking obligations against fraud and theft it is often a lot harder to recover any lost money on a debit card when compared to a credit card. This is because the recovery and insurance on most debit cards is a lot less than that covering credit cards; meaning your money is less secure. Also giving your primary bank details can potentially be a recipe for disaster and exposes you much more to other fraud problems such as identity theft.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are one of the better methods for shopping and earning online thanks to the high levels of fraud cover and excellent security measures most cards implement. Generally your transactions are closely monitored and immediate flagging of suspicious purchases is brought to your attention. In the event of your card details being used fraudulently you will get 100% of your money back and usually relatively quickly. This makes credit cards a very good option for online shopping although the problems are that if your details are stolen you can potentially be faced with bills for thousands of dollars and be unable to use your credit card for a short period.

Pre-paid credit cardsshopping online

This is our favourite online payment option as it is the most secure in terms of your actual money – though not your personal details. Pre-paid credit cards allow you to place funds directly onto them and are not authorised to spend beyond the amount already on there. So if you place 100 dollars on a card and only spend 10 anyone who has those details will only be able to spend 90 dollars. Your money has the same guarantees as if you were using a normal credit card and the same levels of security, usually being supplied by the same company as your existing credit card. Whilst there is a nominal fee for setting up these cards the added security more than makes up for this and there are no interest rates or additional fees to worry about.


Ebay’s PayPal payment method has become hugely popular the world over thanks to its ease of use and security. One of the most secure payment methods and many sites have now implemented this as a payment option. You initially will need a credit or debit card to validate your account but once this is done you won’t have to enter your details anywhere. You have the option to link your PayPal account to your bank account or just make one off transfers. PayPal’s security is absolutely fantastic but our favourite feature is that your personal details are never shared with retailers. They do not get to see your credit card or bank details meaning they cannot use or steal them for fraudulent activity. Finally PayPal has a very good customer complaints department and if you are scammed out of your money PayPal will often side on your favour and return your money.

Western Union and Money Bookers

We put these two together simply to flag up as a warning. We would recommend you stick to the payment methods outlined above and avoid making transfers through these sites. Whilst a lot of legitimate business does occur through these sites they come under constant criticism for lax security and there is almost no recourse should your payments go astray. There is no real need to use any other payment methods than the ones listed above and we would remain suspicious of any seller that will not offer alternative payment methods to those listed.


Steve writes about online shopping in Australia, in addition to using portals such as ShopAndEarn where you can earn rewards for items purchased online.


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