Q&A: Is it safe to send my credit card information via regular mail?

It’s Q&A time again. This one comes from ‘Eze’ who is asking…

I’m requesting my official high-school transcripts from the Ministry of Education. The only way to pay for it is by sending my Credit Card number and Expiration date in a form along with my request.Is this safe? Should I use UPS/FedEx or is regular mail just fine?

Answer: When you send out information through the internet via e-mail, it is possible for anyone to view it if he/she has the means and desire to do so. If someone decided to intercept your e-mail message as it passes through intermediate servers, then the security of the information would be compromised. On top of that, most e-mail messages are unencrypted, thus furthering the vulnerability of the message’s information. Most of the time, ISP’s also keep backups of sent e-mails to others in their servers for months, even after deletion.Some electronic applications forms on the Internet are encrypted and those may be safer as long as no one is able to decrypt the encryption.Mail tends to safer, if your information is very important, but like other posters have mentioned, it is probably just as safe as e-mail as it is possible that mail fraud can occur, though perceiveably less as likely as “e-mail fraud”. Of course certain services offered by UPS and Fed-Ex are very reputable.Perhaps the best way is to buy a pre-paid credit card or a “gift card credit card”, one that others cannot make frivrolous charges to in the event that your card number is revealed, but still works like a credit card. Think of it as a “flexible gift card”, one that is accepted whereever credit cards are accepted, but has a limit and is worth however much money you intially allotted to it.Say you were to buy a pre-paid credit card valued at $100. You would pay the $100 upfront at the counter of a store that offers that service. There would be an activation fee of about $5 and you would receive a receipt or some sort of proof of activation. You would then go online to the pre-paid card’s website to enter your billing information so the Ministry can match your card to you, though most of the time, the information has already been entered upon activation at the store. If someone were to come across your card and overcharge it, he/she would not be able to use more than the $100 you initially put into the card. Thus, you would not be billed any further, and, as I would take it, your credit report would not be hurt as you are not owing anyone anything.

Tagged:Other – Business & Finance

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