With online shopping, payment is usually made at the time of purchase. There may be several payment options available, some of which offer you extra protection while others can be very risky.
It is always best to pay by credit card if you can. Under Chapter 7, Section 39 of the Consumer Protection Act, you can ask your credit card company for a refund if your order is not delivered or if the goods, when they arrive, are defective.
- Pay attention to the security features of online payments. Online payments are only safe if the ‘http’ at the beginning of the website address has been replaced by ‘https’ and there is a picture of a lock at the bottom of the screen.
- The page where you are asked to enter your credit card details should also show a breakdown of your order (especially the total cost).
- Never give your credit card details to anyone over the telephone or via email.
- Also consult the security instructions of your own credit card company.
- Please note that Visa Electron is not a credit card.
You may also be able to ask for a refund on debit card payments if your bank’s terms and conditions provide for this.
Payment services such as PayPal and Payson are a good option if you do not want to give your credit card details to a trader or if you do not have a credit card. Payment services are often used, for example, to buy goods through an online auction from a private seller based in another country.
- PayPal’s parent company is based in the US, but it has a subsidiary called PayPal (Europe) in Luxembourg. Money can be transferred to PayPal by means of online banking or credit card. Among the benefits of PayPal is the fact that you can ask for a refund if you do not receive your goods or if the goods do not match the description given. The right to a refund is based on a contract with the service provider. Consumers do not usually have to pay anything to use PayPal. Read the terms and conditions carefully, as the disputes board does not deal with claims relating to car sales, for example. PayPal operates in English.
- Payson is a Swedish company. Money can be transferred to Payson by means of online banking or credit card. If you have paid extra for payment protection, you can ask for a refund if you do not receive your goods or if the goods do not match the description given. Read the terms and conditions carefully. Payson operates in Finnish.
- Not all companies that offer payment services (“escrow companies”) specialise in online shopping. This is why some of them may not verify the recipient’s identity and therefore cannot offer a refund in the event that your order never arrives. Western Union, for example, has issued warnings about money transfer scams. Never use a payment service such as Western Union to transfer money to a stranger.
Cash on delivery
Only the largest online shops use cash on delivery as a method of payment in international trading. Please note that with cash on delivery you are not able to inspect the goods before you pay for them.
Always check the background of the trader carefully and read reviews on the internet before paying for goods by bank transfer, as you may not be able to get your money back if the trader turns out to be untrustworthy or goes out of business after you have placed your order. You can use our online shopping checklist to assess trader’s trustworthiness.