We are planning a 6 week trip this year. I love booking my tickets for tours ahead of time on line, a few days in advance. But I worry about putting my credit card information into a website while using public Wifi connections. I was wondering if getting a prepaid credit card to use for these transactions would work. I'm thinking it would be good because even if the number was stolen the amount of money taken would be limited. But I know that in the past even using the prepaid card in person has resulted in the card being declined. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Booking everything before we leave provides no flexibility should something arise. Thank you
I travel with my phone and use the more secure hotspot connection for online transactions requiring credit cards or to pay bills while we travel.
I only use public wifi for general web surfing.
You already have excellent credit card protection provided by the cards. Still, I try to avoid public wifi when doing any kind of financial transactions. You should think about getting a smartphone data service that includes Europe. Then any transaction will be much more secure over the cell phone network. Prepaid cards are not something I would care to mess with.
I use hotel Wi-Fi all the time to book hotels at future destinations. Have done it probably about 50 times over the last two summers. No issues so far.
I have never had a problem but would prefer a smaller hotel wifi with password over a totally public network (like in a cafe). I realize either could be hacked, but just keep an eye on your cards and their protections should help if anything goes wrong. In theory a pre-paid visa card would be a good idea, but I have had trouble with those, too. Perhaps open a separate checking account with just the money you expect to use on such things and get a visa debit/credit card for that account? Then it's a normal card, but with limited funds. I haven't tried, I just use my normal credit card, but if you are concerned it is an option.
Thanks everyone for the input. You all have validated what I was thinking. I liked the prepaid CC idea, but I kept thinking that if it was such a good idea why wasn't everyone recommending it? Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I use a VPN when I check my bank accounts or do anything that requires entering CC info online. You should actually be paranoid. A lot of people assume that as long as they use SSL they are protected - this is not true. If an attacker controllers the wifi they have an incredible amount of ability to wreak havoc.
The problem with pre-paid credit card is that they are not considered credit cards but rather gift cards and protection associated with credit cards does not apply to pre-paid cards. Second, pre-paid cards tend to have a lot of fees associated with the card. That varies greatly so you need to check the fine print. If your credit card is compromised it is a pain but your are totally protected. Compromise a pre-paid card and the funds are gone.
I would never use a public wifi for anything critical. Generally a hotel or private wifi site will have better protection. We have used the hotel wifis for years without any problem. And there is always walk up and pay cash.
Most hotel wifi's are fairly secure since only guests get the password. And hopefully they are changed regularly.
For more protection, get a VPN. Many are free and will give you an extra added level of security.
Additionally, make sure the website you are entering your information on is https. That extra "s" means it is secure.
Never, ever use a public computer or public wifi--cafe, store, library--for sensitive items.
Most travelers don't understand that cellar phone service is more secure than Wi-Fi. If you have a cellular connection, turn off your Wi-Fi and use the cellular connection to order your tickets.