Chances are very good that if you’re reading this article that you are one of the millions of other Americans who are online right now. Beyond reading, doing research, paying bills and listening to music, the primary use of the internet in today’s world is for shopping. E-commerce as an industry has really flourished and continues to come up roses for both merchants and consumers alike. The global connectivity of the internet has made it possible for people of every designation to conduct online purchases from the comfort of their personal computers in just a few simple clicks. There is basically nothing that you can’t find online and if you can’t find something, you can find someone who can find it for you. The internet has been a major player in stimulating small and large economies alike and has created opportunities for just about everyone to make money spend it too. As a result of the popularity of online shopping banks and financial institutions have had to step up their game and provide customers with safe, affordable and easy ways to pay their way to the products and services they want and need the most. With the advent of online bill paying specifically, you can make payments in a flash and still monitor and manage your spending. Online banking allows you to check your expenditures in real time and even allows you take your financial management to a more accessible level. But with all this ease of spending and the infinite possibilities that the internet provides, there are certain pitfalls of which you must be aware.

The banks and better business bureaus can only do but so much and so the protection of your finances and even your identity must be something you take into your own hands as much as possible. There are things you can do to make sure that where ever you decide to spend your money must be safe and validated. One good way to start is by checking out the online reputation of the companies with whom you shop and conduct business. Business reputation management services are very popular and help merchants maintain clean online records. You can also use these services to investigate the integrity of the stores you make purchases with. Of course, it is in your best interest to do this before you actually shell out any cash but it is also a good idea to keep track of the online reputation of sites that you go to on a constant basis. Another way to keep yourself and your money safe online is by making sure to split up your finances and specifically designate certain accounts to online expenditures. By separating your finances, it will make it easier to track your spending and to stick to a budget if you set one up for yourself. By having a specific account and specific credit card for online purchases, should anything go awry, you will be able to put a hold on your account without it crippling your ability to spend and function offline.