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I shop online relatively often, because online shopping is much more efficient than brick-and-mortar retail. Unfortunately, I therefore also leave behind numerous data traces, which would not be necessary in stationary trade.

Now my question about payment methods.

When shopping online, I prefer a bank transfer to a credit card for privacy reasons. Is privacy really better with the classic bank transfer?

A colleague, who has also committed a few patches to the Tor browser, said I should avoid credit cards if possible. Is this statement true? What's the reasons for it?

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  • Are you concerned about your CC issuer, bank, or the retailer?
    – DavWEB
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 10:44
  • Maybe you should not listen too much to your colleague who changes IBAN every year(s). At least I think it's much easier to change credit card(s) every few years than your banking account. Or use virtual credit cards. Or use Twint, credit cards, bank transfer, ... round robin.
    – DavWEB
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 16:02
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    I think one has to find a trade off between privacy and convenience. For everyday shopping I would not be too much concerned paying by CC or anything else. For things I don't want to leave traces, I guess there is truly no alternative to cash payments (i.e. not online, because otherwise you would need to leave your physical shipping address).
    – DavWEB
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 10:54
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    Also, depending on the web shop, sometimes another payment provider is involved if you pay by invoice, if this is what you do (billpay, byjuno, ...). And/or the shop might do a credit check in advance. And/or the shop might report your payment history and reliability to credit bureaus (Intrum, CRIF, ...). For these reasons I do not use invoice very often. Prepayment doesn't come with those issues, though.
    – DavWEB
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 13:35
  • @DavWEB thanks good points. Would be good if you write those comments into an answer
    – Sybil
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 16:20

1 Answer 1

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The internet is a difficult place to shop whilst preserving privacy but there are a number of ways one can limit exposure - particularly in respect of access to your funds by inappropriate parties with bad intent.

The Fintechs usually have disposable virtual cards for use with online transactions. These cards are single use - once used the card is no longer viable so the chances of it being cloned and used against your base account is virtually non existent. They add a very welcome level of security on line. Added to that is the fact that the cards are not generally credit cards per se but pre-paid cards which can add a further layer of security if the card is not loaded beforehand.

I use Revolut with a virtual card for on line transactions. After the card has been used, it can immediately be replaced with a new card for your next use with different numbers and the old card no longer exists (but the transaction authorised on the original virtual card will be honoured). The use case is for a single purchase so, for example, ongoing monthly subscriptions would probably not be available using this method.

This Revolut reference explains more.

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    Although virtual credit cards can be an improvement over regular credit cards, this doesn't really answer the question of the relative merits of credit card vs. bank transfer in Switzerland.
    – pseudon
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 13:27

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