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Safest Ways To Pay For Holiday Gifts, In Stores And Online

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- When it comes to saving money this holiday season, the payment method matters as much as good deals. EMV chip cards were designed to make payments safer than magnetic strip cards, by adding a second layer.

It hides credit card numbers under a fake one, so even if scammers get through the system, they won't have access to users' information. Same goes for tap-and-go payments on phones, smartwatches, and built into credit and debit cards.

Eric Christensen is the Vice President of Payments, Fraud and Financial at Digital River, an e-commerce company based in Minnetonka. He explained how mobile payments are proven safer than manually entering card numbers online, because the mobile wallets fall under bigger brands such as Apple, Google, or Paypal.

"Ultimately it comes down to who you trust giving your credit card information to," said Christensen. "So if you're giving your credit card information to a company like Apple, that probably feels more safe to you than giving your credit card information to some third-party merchant where you're making a purchase once every five years."

Christensen also urges people stay proactive by setting notifications for credit and debit card transactions.

"So if a transaction seems to have happened that you don't recognize, you can react right away like, 'Hey, a transaction just happened in Florida, I'm in Minnesota, what's going on here?'" said Christensen. "And the banks are getting really good to work with the consumers to ultimately figure out what that transaction was."

Anyone who falls victim to fraud should report it immediately. Christensen says fraudsters typically start with small purchases to see what they can get through the system, and if they get away with it, they'll spend more money.

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