Protect your wallet with these expert tips.

By Kristine Gill
Updated November 14, 2018
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We've covered how to protect your bank account from hackers when you use Venmo or PayPal, but here's the thing: Money sharing apps aren't the only time you may be inadvertently putting your financial information at risk. Say you want to pay for your daughter’s flight home from college, or you want to give a friend your credit card information so he can snag concert tickets the minute they go on sale. Those situations happen, but there are good ways and bad ways to share your credit card information with others.Follow our lists of dos and don'ts to keep your money safe.

Tout: Safe Credit Card Info
Credit: d3sign/Getty Images

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Do: Verbalize it

You’ll have to get old fashioned if you want to share your credit card information safely. That means picking up the phone.

“It’s safest to verbalize it,” said Janet Alvarez, executive editor of Wise Bread, a personal finance and credit management blog. “Have them write it down on a piece of paper they intend on destroying immediately after using it.” It goes without saying, you should only give that info to someone you trust. Need to pay a bill over the phone? Only do so if it’s on a recorded line from a trusted retailer. "That way, you can refer the company to your recorded call, should you suspect your information was used inappropriately," says Alvarez.

Don’t: Text or email it

While it might be tempting to avoid the phone call altogether, and just text the information, that’s not exactly safe. Phone messages can be hacked. And email is also not a safe way to share your information for similar reasons, Alvarez says.

If verbalizing the information isn’t an option, you can try using an encrypted text messaging app instead. Alvarez suggests using an app called Signal (free; iOS, Android). “Signal was one of the few sources of text information that couldn’t be breached a few years ago during that big breach of iPhone data,” she said.

The nice part about the app is it works for all kinds of messages, meaning you can use it to send encrypted texts to your tax accountant or realtor, too.

Do: Use it yourself

Another way to ensure safety is to simply type your credit card number directly into the site your friend or family member plans to use. Say they’re buying something from Amazon: Rather than give them your info, which can be lost or stolen, just buy the product for them and eliminate the middleman.

Do: Use secure websites

Most major retail sites use enhanced security features around transactions, but to be sure, Alvarez recommends checking their URL. Sites that begin with the “https” prefix are safer than those beginning with just “http.” The “s” in the acronym stands for “secure.”

Otherwise, go with your gut. Websites that look fishy likely are. “It’s best to air on the side of prudence,” she said. “And don’t think that just because you following all of these tips that you aren’t still susceptible to breaches.”

Don’t: Mail it

You might think mailing a check or cash is more reliable than the internet these days, but Alvarez cautions against it. Her one exception is to send a check by certified mail, requiring a signature, or using tracking information to ensure it arrives at its destination.