Online merchants and shoppers constantly have to be alert to the dangers of identity theft and fraud. It is simply too easy for someone to grab an unsuspecting individual's credit card information and reek havoc before anything can be done to stop them. Those who use Visa cards, whether credit or debit cards, have the option to add a layer of protection to their card with the Verified by Visa program. Understanding this program is important to both retailers and shoppers, as it has implications for both parties.

How Verified by Visa Works for Consumers

Consumers who wish to use the Verified by Visa program start by activating their cards. Then, when they are shopping online with a participating retailer, a special Verified by Visa window will pop up automatically. This is where the additional security comes into play, because the credit card user will create a special password to enter into this screen. The screen will also have a Personal Message, something that the cardholder chooses at activation, and this helps the consumer verity that the box is the actual Verified by Visa box and not a scam.

How does this add protection? Well, if you are a Verified by Visa member, it will be harder for someone else to make purchases online using your stolen credit card information. If someone knows your credit card number, chances are fairly remote he will also know your password, so he will be unable to use your card and the payment will be denied.

There is no cost for the Verified by Visa program. Any Visa card can be enrolled in the program, with a few exceptions. The official Visa website has a form cardholders can use to see if their card is eligible for the program. However, do not enroll in this program unless you are on the actual Visa website. There are many scams out there looking to steal your credit card number by posing as the Verified by Visa program.

When you wish to use the Verified by Visa program to add security to your online shopping, simply look for retailers that offer the Verified by Visa program. You do not have to do anything special, as the Verified by Visa window will pop up automatically as you check out. You will know the retailer is a participating retailer by looking for the Verified by Visa logo on the website.

How Verified by Visa Works for Merchants

If you are an online merchant you may wish to consider adding the Verified by Visa option to your website. The most obvious reason to do this is to give your customers added protection from fraud, which can increase your sales among Visa cardholders. However, there are other benefits for merchants who participate.

The Verified by Visa program actually protects merchants just as it does consumers. All Visa card transactions handled by participating merchants are protected from fraud-related charge backs, even if the cardholder does not participate in the program. Also, transactions that are made using the Verified by Visa program are charged a discounted transaction fee in most situations, although this can vary depending on the arrangements that the merchant and the bank have.

Implementing the program is easy. All you have to do is install the software onto your server, and then all of your consumers will be protected if they participate in the program. The software also gives you the Verified by Visa logo to add to your site, showing your consumers that you have the program.

Whether you are a merchant or a consumer, the Verified by Visa program adds security and peace of mind to the online shopping experience. As with any similar program, there are scams out there that mimic the program but are looking to take your personal information. To avoid these problems, work directly with Visa or your bank when activating your card or implementing this program onto your website.