The COVID-19 scare has fast-tracked Singaporeans’ adoption of digital banking. Due to safe distancing measures set forth by the government, most people in the city-state have been shopping with their mobile devices almost exclusively.
Cash isn’t going to end up in museums in the Lion City any time soon. But the shift in the behaviour of consumers in favour of online shopping has been so dramatic most of us have probably not figured out how to do it right.
If you don’t order something about 21st-century finance from a book store, you’ll likely stand to make major mistakes in e-commerce. Here, let’s shed light on the hidden pitfalls of online shopping.
Using Plastic Without Strategy
Credit cards are not equal. Sadly, many of us think otherwise and randomly pay with them for any purchase.
The truth is that buying stuff on credit comes with various rewards, usually literally. As you probably already know, you earn some points for every transaction when you charge it to plastic. But a quick analysis of the features of your cards will reveal that they lend themselves to optimisation.
Some credit cards offer incentives, like free parking or a rebate, when used for specific products or services. Brands and credit card providers could collaborate for limited-time promos, so watch out for those too.
Other than maximising the use of your credit cards, you ought to manage your expenses well. A wise cardholder uses plastic as a shopping tool, not a debt instrument.
To enjoy the good without contending with the bad, study the billing cycles, due dates, and minimum balances of each of your cards. Also, it pays not to max them out to boost your credit score, which will open more financing doors for you in the future.
Letting Your Impulse Do the Shopping
Shopping without seeing your money leave your wallet is a recipe for disaster. You may feel too comfortable adding items to your cart and not realise that you’re buying more than you need.
Occasional indulgence won’t hurt, but you ought to be more disciplined when engaging with e-retailers. If you cannot fight the urge to order every little thing you desire that you can find online, you may drain your savings quickly and dig a deep financial hole for yourself, two scary possibilities in the time of the pandemic.
A recent report revealed that about 3,500 Singaporeans had fallen victim to security breaches. Their names and contact details have been leaked on the internet, rendering these hapless shoppers sitting ducks for crypto scammers.
Cyber-security is no joke and should be treated as such. Losing your privacy and getting your identity stolen could have long-term consequences, so invest in quality tools like a virtual private network to boost your defences against cunning hackers.
The Internet is a convenient place to shop—but not a safe one. Buy helpful books to advance your knowledge of all things finance, and be mindful of your every action to reduce the risk of online shopping.