Tips for safe online shopping

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is keeping most of us indoors and away from the shopping crowds. This means that e-commerce markets are experiencing a fresh surge in popularity.

Fortunately, you can buy almost anything online these days without venturing out, with the HSBC Revolution Credit Card.

Over 60% of Singaporeans do their online shopping through mobile phones and 26% make an online purchase at least once a week1. Before you continue browsing, it's good to remember that your physical health is just one thing you need to take care of.

Being cooped up can take a toll on your mental health, too, whether that manifests itself as boredom or loneliness. And, of course, you should always tend to your financial health, especially when it comes to protecting your digital data.

First, put your mind at ease

There's no evidence that suggests a virus can piggyback on packages and come into your home. COVID-19 and other viruses like it, such as SARS and MERS, can't survive on surfaces for long, especially porous ones like cardboard that have been in transit for a few days.

Often-handled paper notes and coins, however, can be magnets to millions of microorganisms. You're much better off making cashless purchases with your credit or debit card. Online shopping is the safest way to restock your kitchen and enjoy retail therapy.

Before you browse, some tips for safe online shopping

The boon in e-commerce is a perfect cybercrime opportunity. Computer viruses have been a threat long before the COVID-19 virus became a global issue, and will continue to be as long as we're putting our personal data online. Malware disguised as educational documents, fake websites or "useful apps" can infect your computer if the files are opened, even inadvertently.

Update your antivirus software, download the latest operating system on your mobile phone and follow these guidelines to keep your data safe:

  • Browse on a computer instead of a mobile phone – you're less likely to accidentally click on a link, and computers are not as vulnerable to data theft
  • Avoid public computers or free Wi-Fi networks
  • Watch out for third-party apps that can't be verified
  • Check that a website's URL begins with https://, which means any data sent will be secure, then double-check for the encrypted padlock on the payment page
  • Activate your Security Key or mobile phone biometric authentication features for online or mobile banking
  • Turn on notifications to alert you to banking transactions
  • Type in a URL instead of clicking on a link
  • Beware of requests, even from the "police", asking you to verify personal information
  • Steer clear of pop-ups or turn them off
  • Notify your bank and change your PINS and passwords immediately if you think your personal data has been compromised

Make it fun

Online shopping might be a necessity at the moment, but it is here to stay and there's no need for it to be a chore. Many brick-and-mortar shoppers say they enjoy seeing and touching products before buying and that they find shopping relaxing.

Once the staples are out of the way, wander the virtual stores like you'd window shop out in the real world (if that's your thing). Peruse the stores that allow you to recreate a shopping experience in a virtual fitting room or "try on" every pair of eyeglass frames to suit your (photographed) face perfectly.

Enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with solo shopping. If you need a bit of help deciding or want some company, join a live chat with an assistant and you can shop together.

Be goal-oriented

Being able to browse your favourite stores 24/7 doesn't mean that you should be shopping at all hours. Bookmark those sites, making a list and set aside a time. Optimise your experience by scheduling regular deliveries so you don't have to wait.

Use an app that creates a shareable shopping list or, better yet, have family members put items into a virtual shopping basket. When you're ready to check out at the end of the week, register your payment details and skip the queues, knowing your details are stored safely online.

Don't forget to close your browser, especially if you're using free Wi-Fi on a public computer.

Treat yourself to takeaway

Planning and prep is half the hassle of cooking, especially if you can't pop to the shops easily. Food delivery companies like Deliveroo allow you to order your meals and book your deliveries 24 hours in advance so you can end your day with the well-timed arrival of dinner.

Get online discounts and earn 5x Reward points when paying with the HSBC Revolution Credit Card. If your family is on the other side of town, treat them to a Deliveroo subscription for unlimited monthly food deliveries.

Share your blessings

Singapore is said to have the most extensive loyalty system in Southeast Asia, with about 1.75 million members and over 1,000 participating merchant outlets, including Deliveroo, Accor Hotels and Zalora.

Did you know that you can donate many of your hotel, airline and credit card reward points to various non-profit organisations? You might not have the time to volunteer but this is one easy way you can help others.

Redeem your HSBC Reward points any time through phone banking and donate to Community Chest, Garden City Fund, Singapore Children's Society or Straits Times (ST) School Pocket Money Fund.  

Be rewarded and "Pay with Points"

Shop at Lazada or Shopee online with the HSBC Revolution Credit Card and earn up to 5x Reward points, equivalent to 2 miles for every dollar spent, with no minimum spend required. Refer the HSBC Revolution Credit Card to family and friends and get a cash rebate of up to SGD250, or add a supplementary cardholder to your account and rack up your spending rewards faster.

Spend around SGD1,500 a month to accumulate enough points within a year to redeem SGD300 worth of dining vouchers or SGD240 worth of shopping vouchers.

Start turning your Reward points into instant rewards with the all-new "Pay with Points" feature available exclusively through the HSBC Singapore mobile app. You have 3 years to redeem your points – plenty of time to find the perfect rewards gift.  

Shop responsibly and spend within your means

It's dubbed "retail therapy" because a bit of shopping can lift your spirits but not if you find yourself spending more than you can comfortably pay back. Take advantage of free deliveries, cash rebates and promotional offers that come with your HSBC Revolution Credit Card.

Be wary of online flash sales that encourage impromptu purchases that you weren't planning to make. Avoid late charges by paying your credit card bill on time, or use the HSBC Singapore mobile app to conveniently transfer money.

Keep in mind that shopping's like anything that gives you a heady buzz – it's best in moderation.  

Shopping online with the HSBC Revolution Credit Card

  • Accelerated rewards for every dollar spent on online transactions
  • Earn up to 5x Reward points for every dollar charged, equivalent to 2 miles per dollar spent
  • No minimum spend required
  • Get sign up gifts2, earn rewards points faster by adding a supplementary card to your account and get cash rebates for referring friends and family  

Online shopping credit card offers

Take advantage of our online offers through the HSBC Revolution Credit Card. Participating merchants include:

Make the most of your online shopping but be vigilant about scams and fraudulent websites. The HSBC Revolution Credit Card can make your online shopping experience easier, safer and more rewarding.

For more information and tips on safe online shopping using a credit card, take a look at our Security Centre. Apply for an HSBC Revolution Credit Card to start shopping online today. 

1"Online Shopping Trends In Singapore In 2020", mediaonemarketing.com.sg/online-shopping-trends-singapore/.
2Terms and conditions apply for all offers mentioned. Find out more.