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When I shop online, I often find that there are different ways for checking out

  1. creating an account on the online shopping website

  2. choosing guest checkout option.

  3. Use some third party like Amazon or Paypal

Which method would you recommend?

Can you compare the advantages and disadvantages of each method? For example,

  • which way is more secure and which is less secure? Consider the online shopping site might be one that you have never heard of, but discovered it by Google Shopping's price comparison. Consider the possibility of leaking personal account information when the site is hacked.

  • Which one is more hassle free and which one is less?

  • Do they provide the same level of records for future disputes over the product quality, warranty, or its gone missing during shipping, even after the online shopping website goes down possibly forever?

and other aspects that I haven't mentioned.

enter image description here

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From an IT security standpoint, there is always some amount of risk when entering your personal payment information online. For payment methods such as Amazon and PayPal, you can be reasonably sure that you payment information is safe, but a random site that you've never heard of should be approached with slightly more caution, mainly because a smaller random site, if it were specifically targeted, is more likely to be successfully hacked than a large popular site, and also is more likely to have an overlooked security flaw in their implementation.

As for financial security, in general, using a payment method such as Amazon or Paypal and funding that payment method with a credit card, adds an extra layer of protection when compared to just using a credit card by itself. This is because if you are unsatisfied with a purchase, you have multiple ways to get a refund or take other actions. If the merchant can't or won't help you, then you can take it up with Amazon or PayPal, and if that fails you can still dispute it with your credit card as well. Another nice thing about Amazon and PayPal is that you can change your funding method (credit card/bank account/etc) anytime without having to log into multiple sites to change your credit card (or expiration date).

  • the online shopping site which I took the picture from is a Google trusted store. When I created an account on the site and placed an order, Google also sent me another email about the order and contacting either the store or Google Trusted Store Team if any issue. Is it also another layer of protection? – Tim Jul 31 '16 at 4:47
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    @Tim - yes, I would say so. It sounds like Google would assist you if you have an issue, since their reputation of "Trusted Store" is at stake. Likewise, the store itself would probably help you too since they would likely not want to risk losing their "trusted store" status. It seems like that between the store, Google, possibly Amazon or PayPal and a credit card issuer, your purchase should be very well protected! – TTT Jul 31 '16 at 13:27
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One thing to consider when creating an account vs checking out as a guest is how frequently you intend to use that site. From my own experience if I find that I plan to use a site regularly then I will create an account. Not so much because I think it will matter to them as much as for my own convenience. As a customer with an account if I want to do something like go and look at my order history or make sure I am reordering exactly the same thing i got last time or see how long it has been since I ordered item X or whatever it is, most sites will allow me to find that information. If it's a one time purchase it doesn't matter as much.

From a security perspective you are giving them the same information either way, payment information, shipping and billing address, etc.

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