PayPal or credit card: which is safer to pay online

Shopping online comes with inherent risks, but there are various payment methods, each with differing levels of safety. Therefore, not every online payment carries the same degree of danger. In this comparison, we pit PayPal against credit cards to determine which method is safer.

E-commerce has undeniably gained immense popularity among users. However, the challenge lies in selecting the safest payment option for online transactions. It’s crucial to exercise caution when choosing a payment method. While many users frequently opt for credit cards, is this method truly the most secure? Here, we provide you with the key factors to consider, enabling you to make a well-informed decision during your next online purchase.


Benefits and drawbacks of each payment method

Internet purchases have become an integral part of modern life, and the trend continues to grow. Increasingly, users favor the convenience of placing orders online over the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. However, the crucial aspect lies in making informed choices when it comes to selecting the appropriate payment method for these transactions. Ensuring a secure and reliable payment method is paramount to protect one’s financial information and enjoy a worry-free online shopping experience.

Main advantages

Consider the advantages of both PayPal and credit cards when making your choice:


  1. It offers enhanced security by not disclosing your bank account or credit card details to sellers.
  2. Acting as an intermediary, PayPal provides a dispute resolution platform, allowing you to raise issues and file claims if necessary.
  3. Widely recognized and used across the internet, making it a popular and accessible payment method.
  4. Convenience and speed are key; payments can be made using an associated account or credit card, and the option to recharge your balance exists.

Credit cards:

  1. Accepted by virtually all online businesses, making it a widely available and versatile payment system.
  2. With appropriate precautions, credit cards can be a secure payment option.
  3. No need to create an additional account; straightforward card payment process.
  4. Some banks offer added features such as the ability to turn the card on and off from their app for added security.
  5. Allows for setting a spending limit, providing control over your expenses.

What is wrong with each option?

Having weighed the different benefits of each online payment method, it is essential to consider their respective drawbacks as well, as there are several aspects to take into account.

Regarding PayPal, being an intermediary service can lead to potential challenges where they hold the final authority in certain situations. For instance, if a dispute arises, resolution may be subject to waiting periods, and during this time, the funds can be withheld. Furthermore, violating PayPal’s rules can result in the account being blocked, causing inconvenience to the user.

Credit vs debit card

As for credit cards, there are inherent risks if they are not used responsibly. If mishandled, sensitive bank details can fall into the wrong hands, leading to potential fraud or misuse. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to ensure that payments are made on secure internet pages displaying SSL security certificates. Additionally, using infected devices with malware can pose a threat, potentially leading to the theft of card information during the payment process. Hence, exercising caution and adhering to security best practices are essential when using credit cards for online transactions.

Which is better?

Using common sense is crucial when making online purchases. If you encounter a website that appears dubious or unreliable, it’s advisable to opt for PayPal as the payment method. This way, you have recourse to the service if any fraudulent activities occur, providing an added layer of protection.

However, if you are dealing with a well-known and secure website, marked by the presence of an SSL certificate, using your credit card should pose no issues.

Furthermore, to enhance the safety of card payments, many banks now implement the PSD2 European Directive on Digital Payment Services, requiring users to authorize online purchases through additional verification methods. This often involves accessing the bank’s application and entering a code received via SMS, rendering the second option increasingly secure.

Regardless of the payment method chosen, exercising caution and carefully scrutinizing the reliability of web pages before proceeding with an online payment remains essential. Employing logic and vigilance is paramount in ensuring a safe and hassle-free shopping experience on the internet.