I myself am no stranger to buying services online, such as web hosting and domain registration. When possible, I always try to buy from established home-based companies as this gives you extra confidence, before you give them your credit card details.
However, once you give your credit card details to a company they can essentially keep on charging your card, even if you've tried cancelling the service via their website, or even by phone. Some companies even keep your credit card details on file for infinity, even though the dates have expired.
If you do find yourself a victim of a shady company that keeps on charging your credit card, when you clearly instructed them not to renew a service then you should contact your credit card company or bank ASAP.
One way you can buy products or services on the Internet without handing over your credit card details is to sign up for a PayPal account which enables you to add your credit card or bank account details. The transaction is then processed by PayPal, who in turn send the money to the company you are buying from. This means that company will never get to see your credit card details and also means you can block any future transactions, if the service is set to renew on a monthly or yearly basis.
Now, naturally, not every single online website accepts PayPal, but the vast majority of them these days do. For example, when I have to renew my web hosting to run this website, I usually buy from a company based in the USA, rather than the UK as they can be cheaper. However, buying from a foreign company can be daunting, especially if they don't have an easy, or sometimes non-existent cancellation process.
That's when PayPal comes in very handy because you can log into your Control Panel and tell PayPal that company isn't authorised to take any future payments from your account. You should, of course, always try to cancel any rolling service via the website you bought it from, but for extra peace of mind and protection is always good practice to block any future payments, unless you're 100% happy with the company.
Creating a PayPal account is both free and fairly easy. Simply head over to - https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/account-selection
You can choose to create either a personal or business account. If you're not planning to run a business, then a personal account is fine. Once you confirm your email and account has been set up, you'll be given the option to add a bank account, credit card or both. Simply follow the details on your PayPal account to add either one.
As mentioned earlier, you'll naturally need to fine websites that accept PayPal as a payment method. The vast of online websites do these days, and the PayPal payment process is usually integrated into their shopping cart. To pay you simply log into your PayPal account with your email and password, and give authorisation that you want to pay the company. Everything is then processed by PayPal and the money is debited from your card or bank account.
If you bought a service such as web hosting or a TV subscription, the company will recharge you every 1 to 12 months for the service, unless you cancel either online or by phone. I must stress that you should always try to cancel this via the company first, but for extra protection you can instruct PayPal that the company is no longer authorised to take payments from your account.
Firstly, I must explain that PayPal have two different layouts for personal and business accounts, so the option to block any future payments are slightly different.
1. Login with your username and password.
2. Once you're on the home page, also known as the summary page you want to click on the gear icon located in the top right-hand corner next to the logout button. This is also known as the settings icon.
3. You'll then be presented with a new page with some basic information such as your name and address, et cetera. On the top toolbar you want to click on "payments".
4. Once you're on the payments page. You'll then want to click on "manage pre-approved payments" which is located on the left-hand side.
5. On the "my pre-approved payments" page, you'll see a company or list of them, which are allowed to take recurring fees from your account. Click on the name of the company that you want to stop pre-approved payments.
6. You'll then be presented with a new page with the option to keep the payment plan active or to cancel it. To cancel it, simply click on "cancel", which is under status just below the billing ID.
A PayPal business account has a slightly different layout from a personal account, but the process is very similar.
1. Login with your username and password.
2. Once you're on the home page, also known as a summary page, click the profile icon in the top right-hand corner, and select "profile and settings" from the drop-down menu.
3. Once you're on your profile page, click on "my money" on the left-hand side.
4. From there, select "my pre-approve payments" and click on "update".
5. Once you're on my pre-approve payments page you can see a list of companies that are authorised to take future payments. Click on the name of the company that you want to stop pre-approved payments.
6. You'll then see a new page, with the option to keep the payment plan active or to cancel it. To cancel it, simply click on "cancel", which is under status just below the billing ID.
Job done. PayPal will now block any attempts from that company if they try to charge your credit card or bank account.
This method offers you extra protection and prevents cowboy companies from making any further charges to your credit card or bank account. If you ever buy anything via PayPal, you also have have the right to make a chargeback if you don't receive the goods or they weren't as described.
The only downside to PayPal is that it doesn't offer you as much protection as using your credit card here in UK for high cost purchases. Martin Lewis from money saving expert recommends that you don't use it for transactions over £100. You can read more about it at the following link – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/PayPal-Section75