Privacy Virtual Cards
Spending Limits

Set a spending limit and Privacy will decline any transactions that go over the limit

Merchant-Locked Cards

Lock Privacy Cards to the first merchant they’re used at to prevent misuse if stolen

Single-Use Cards

Create Privacy Cards that close automatically after the first purchase is made on them

Pause/Close Cards

Pause or close your Privacy Cards at any time to block future transaction attempts

Sign Up For Privacy Now

Is It Safe To Use a Credit Card on eBay? A Guide to Shopping Securely

Ashley Ferraro, Product
May 15, 2024
 Min Read
Protect Your Payments With Virtual Cards

Founded in 1995, eBay stands out as one of the few digital marketplaces where you can find everything from the latest tech gadgets to rare, collectible home decor items. In 2023 alone, the company generated a staggering $10.11 billion in revenue

While this figure speaks volumes about dedication to the platform, its reasonable for consumers to think twice about entering their credit card details anywhere, even a reputable company like eBay. According to the Federal Trade Commission, approximately 416,582 credit card identity theft incidents and 2.57 million frauds were reported in 2023. Given these statistics, one can never be too cautious when using their credit card for online shopping, no matter how trusted the company is.

In this article, we'll shed light on eBay's credit card safety and answer some questions, such as:

  • Is it safe to use a credit card on eBay?
  • What are the potential risks of using a credit card on eBay?
  • What steps can you take to protect your financial details while shopping online?

Is It Safe To Buy on eBay With a Credit Card?

Yes, it's generally safe to use your credit card on eBay. eBay has achieved Level 1 Certification with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). These security standards include installing firewalls, encrypting data transmissions, and using anti-virus software to protect sensitive customer information against data theft, credit and debit card fraud, and other common web application attack vectors.

Like other leading e-commerce giants, such as AliExpress, Shein, and DHgate, eBay doesn't disclose your personal information to individual sellers. This privacy is evident on your card statements, where only transactions with eBay are displayed and not the personal details or names of sellers.

Digital illustration of two men carrying a board with eBay mentioned on it
Source: 27707

Potential Risks of Using Credit Cards on eBay

Despite the imposed security measures, eBay still cannot guarantee 100% protection against all cyber threats. Some of the potential security risks when using credit cards on eBay include:

  1. Account takeover
  2. Phishing attacks
  3. Payment diversion fraud

Account Takeover

Account takeover fraud occurs when fraudsters gain unauthorized access to your online account. This can happen through brute force attacks, keylogging, or credential stuffing. Once they gain control, they can lock you out of your account, use your credit card information to make purchases, or even impersonate you to commit fraud against others. 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing is another deceptive technique that cybercriminals use to obtain your personal data. They may craft emails that mimic official eBay correspondence and ask you to provide sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, and more. 

There are three most common eBay scam scenarios you should be aware of:

  1. Account Verification—You might get an email demanding immediate account verification to avoid suspension. If you click on the link provided in the email, it will lead you to a fake eBay page designed to steal your login credentials and any linked payment information.
  2. Overpayment Refunds—Fraudsters could email you about an "overpayment" for an eBay bid, enticing you to provide your bank details for a "refund." 
  3. Prize Giveaways—Scammers could send emails promising rewards for completing surveys, leading you to fake websites embedded with malicious codes and malware.

Payment Diversion Fraud

A scammer posing as a seller can create convincing fake listings for in-demand items at prices that seem too good to be true. However, instead of processing the payment through the eBay platform, they may persuade you to pay through a specific wire transfer service, claiming it's faster or offering extra discounts upon accepting this method. 

If you make the payment outside of eBay's secure platform, they are likely to block you and disappear.

A blue and white Visa credit card placed on the keyboard of an open silver laptop computer

Potential Consequences of Irresponsible Credit Card Use on eBay

Mishandling credit card information on eBay can have unpleasant financial and emotional consequences:

Protective Laws and Financial Impact

Even if you become a victim of credit card fraud on eBay, you may not experience significant financial losses, thanks to protective laws like the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). This particular law limits your liability to $50 in the event of fraudulent activity—provided you report it to the card issuer within 60 days. Many card issuers adopt zero-liability policies, meaning you wouldn't be held responsible for unauthorized transactions at all.

Emotional Distress

Despite this financial safety net, credit card fraud can result in significant distress and anxiety. You still have to report any suspicious activity to your card issuer, cancel your compromised cards, apply for new ones, and monitor your credit card statement to notice any other potential fraudulent transactions.

Increased Risk of Identity Theft

Perhaps one of the biggest threats linked to irresponsible credit card use on eBay is the increased risk of identity theft. When cybercriminals gain access to your credit card information and obtain other personal information, they could impersonate you or commit more serious fraudulent activities that jeopardize your credit standing, including:

  • Opening new accounts in your name
  • Making unauthorized purchases
  • Registering for government benefits
  • Acquiring loans in your name
  • Defaulting on acquired debts that will remain in your report for six years

These actions may result in hard inquiries on your credit report, increase your credit utilization ratio, add missed payments, and shorten your credit history, eventually damaging your credit score. Although notifying the card issuer and the credit bureaus in time may help you reverse the damage, that process is never fast.

Different Ways To Secure Your Financial Data While Shopping on eBay

Whether you use a credit card or debit card for eBay shopping, it's crucial to stay vigilant and proactive in protecting your financial data. Here are four key strategies that will reduce the risk of falling prey to the hackers:

  1. Set strong passwords—Always set a hard-to-guess password and enable two-factor authentication on eBay for additional security. It's also advisable to turn on alerts to keep track of all the transactions. 
  2. Use authentic websites—Even if you come across an eBay product link on social media, always shop directly on the official eBay website. Before shopping, look for "https" at the start of the web address and a padlock icon in your browser's address bar. These signs indicate that your financial data is handled securely through encrypted connections.
  3. Review credit card statements—Make it a habit to review your credit card and bank statements every few weeks. This approach can help you identify and report unauthorized transactions before they cause serious damage.
  4. Pay with virtual cards—If you want to add an extra layer of security to your online purchases, consider using a virtual card. Virtual cards generate a unique card number for each transaction or merchant, protecting your real credentials and reducing the risk of fraud. Many banks offer virtual card services, such as Capital One® and Citi®. However, Privacy, an independent virtual card provider, offers advanced security and spending control features.
A close-up photo of a golden padlock resting on a black computer keyboard
Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya

How Privacy Virtual Cards Improve eBay Shopping Experience

Instead of risking exposing your credit or debit card info, you can checkout with a virtual card instead. Privacy Virtual Cards shield your financial information with a random 16-digit number, CVV code, and expiration date, allowing you to make online transactions without worrying about hackers stealing your sensitive data. Privacy connects directly to your debit card or bank account to enable transactions in real-time.

Accredited by the Better Business Bureau®, Privacy is also PCI-DSS compliant, which means it incorporates the same security protocols as top-tier banks. These protocols include transport layer security (TLS) encryption, two-factor authentication, one-time passcodes, and transaction monitoring systems. 

A man using a laptop while holding a bank card in one hand
Source: Rupixen

Privacy Virtual Cards Types and Features

You can choose between two different types of Privacy Cards:

Type of Card Best Used For
Single-Use Card
  • One-time shopping (expires a few minutes after your first transaction)

  • Transactions from unfamiliar websites

Merchant-Locked Card
  • Frequent spending with the same merchant

  • Subscription services and other recurring transactions

  • Backordered items

You can set a specific spending limit on each card to manage your budget and avoid hidden or unexpected fees. Any transaction that exceeds the set limit will be automatically declined.

You also have the flexibility to pause and close your virtual card without affecting your funding source. Privacy will decline all transactions on a paused or closed card, which can help protect your bank account against accidental or unexpected charges—such as those from subscription services you're trying to cancel.  

Since these virtual cards are issued by Visa® and Mastercard®, you can use them on various popular online platforms, like Dropbox, Netflix, and Spotify

Enjoy Convenient Shopping With Privacy

Besides securing transactions, Privacy offers the following features for seamless shopping:

  • Card-sharing option—You can share your Privacy Cards with trusted friends or family members with a simple click without exposing your personal payment details.
  • The Privacy Browser Extension—Privacy's browser extension is designed to autofill your virtual card details during checkout. The extension is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and iOS Safari.
  • The mobile app—Privacy's mobile app, available for both iOS and Android devices, allows you to generate and manage your virtual cards anytime, anywhere.

Privacy's Signup Process and Plans

If you are a US resident, you can create your Privacy Virtual Card by following these steps:

  1. Sign up
  2. Complete a mandatory verification process
  3. Link your bank account or debit card
  4. Request a Privacy Virtual Card

Privacy offers the following three plan options:

Plan Monthly Cost Benefits
Personal Free (for domestic transactions only)
  • Up to 12 cards per month

  • Single and Merchant-Locked Cards

  • All card controls

  • The Privacy Browser Extension and mobile app

Pro $10
  • Everything in the Personal plan

  • Up to 36 cards monthly

  • 1% cashback on eligible purchases (up to $4,500/month)

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Ability to mask transaction info on bank statements

  • Priority support

Premium $25
  • All benefits of the Pro plan

  • Up to 60 cards monthly

Privacy — Seamless & Secure Online Card Payments
Sign Up