5 expert online shopping tips for better value and security

Most consumers today are digitally-savvy and familiar with the perks of shopping online. But the benefits go beyond avoiding the madding crowd as you scout for bargains at the mall, pooling purchases with friends to share shipping costs or stacking up on online discount coupons. With these online shopping tips and the right credit card, you're on your way to a more valuable and secure shopping experience.

1. Stick with trusted sites and brands

You are spoilt for choice with the variety of merchants and brands that are available online these days.

But it is essential that you shop on sites that you can trust. This will assure you of quality and price, and you can be confident that well-established names will have robust security measures in place. To make sure sensitive information is secure, encrypt your personal & payment data (Tip: look for the padlock logo next to the URL and security certification logos when you're in the payment page).

Trusted sites such as Amazon that have recognizable names offer a variety of items for you to choose from while offering you a secure shopping experience.

What's more? From now till 31 Oct 2016, shop at Amazon with your Citi Rewards Card and get 20X Rewards (20 points or 8 Miles for every S$1 spent). Click here to find out more.

2. Use your own mobile data over public Wi-Fi hotspots

Additional data charges gets expensive, so it's helpful to look for public Wi-Fi networks to get connected when you are out and about.

But free public Wi-Fi networks come with a caveat: your personal data are transmitted over unsecure networks that may be vulnerable to hackers.

If you have to key in sensitive data such as your identification and credit card details, avoid using public Wi-Fi and hold that transaction until you can get to a secure network.

If it's a time-sensitive buy like a timed-sale and you absolutely need to buy that item now, then it's best to switch to your own mobile data plan before doing so.

One other point - it may be convenient to save your own payment details in your profile, but doing so can put you at risk of having such information stolen. Do yourself a favour and key it in manually every time you make a purchase.

3. Earn more as you shop

Retailers have gotten creative and introduced a myriad of convenient ways to allow shoppers to pay for their buys, be it by bank transfers, proxy payments at a convenience store or even pre-payment arrangements.

But such convenience causes you to lose out on the rewards you get when you pay with your credit card. A good credit card for online shopping like the Citi Rewards Card awards points to you as you shop online and gives you more value for your purchases. What better way is there to reward yourself more as you shop more?

The Citi Rewards Card offers 10X Rewards (10 points or 4 Miles for every S$1 spent) all year round when you shop for shoes, bags, clothes or at department stores or online shopping websites. Not a Citi Rewards Cardmember yet? Apply now and you get S$120 cash back as you spend. Visit www.citibank.com.sg/rewardscard for more details.

4. Research about billing and delivery process before buying

Online shopping gives you wide variety at great prices, but those savings you get often gets cancelled out by exorbitant shipping costs.

If you frequent certain e-shopping sites, you may become familiar with their calendar of seasonal or clearance promotions. These promotions can nab you bargains that help drive down your overall cost savings. Don't forget to take advantage of free shipping mechanics with a minimum spend or during promotion periods.

Some overseas sites may not offer international shipping, so your next best option is to use a freight forwarding service (if you aren't planning a physical trip down there yourself, of course).

For Citi Credit Cardmembers, fret not, Citi Globeshopper is currently offering a discount of 20 per cent off all shipments plus an additional 5 per cent cash back on shipping charges if you make the purchase with a Citi Credit Card. Click here to find out more.

5. Make your wish-list work harder for you

Most consummate online shoppers use a shopping wish-list as a 'bookmarking' tool for shopping. But did you know that your wish-list can work even harder for you?

Many established e-commerce sites allow you keep a wish-list with your account, and send you notifications when your short-listed item goes on sale.

Do that little bit extra to fill up your wish-list on your next log-on to your favourite shopping sites and you may just be notified when your that pair of shoes you have been eyeing are about to go on sale!

This article was brought to you by Citi Rewards Card