How to shop smart on social media

Shopping via social media sites can be a quick and easy way to snap things up online – and there are so many ads that pop up these days, not to mention influencers, the temptation is all around.

And it’s not just younger generations who are embracing this way of shopping. One in 10 (10 per cent) over-55s have shopped using social media, according to a survey by Visa of 2000 consumers across the UK. Plus, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of this age group say they plan to make a purchase via social media in the future.

Read more: Are you making these costly online shopping mistakes?

Clothing and homeware are among the most popular social media shopping purchases, the research found.

As with any type of shopping, however, you’ll want to make sure you’re parting with your money in a safe and secure way.

Tempted to shop on social media? Here are five top tips from Visa UK&I managing director, Jeni Mundy, to help keep social media shopping safe and secure.

1. Do your research to find the best deal
With time-limited offers and online-only sales, ‘swipe up’ shopping is often faster paced than shopping instore. So check other websites, use price comparison websites, and scout around for email sign-up offers to get the best price.

2. Take a moment before you pay
Being able to purchase with only a few clicks or taps is convenient, but it can also make us feel less accountable for our actions. To help prevent purchase regret, pause or step away from the app for at least a few minutes (maybe even days, if you’re trying to be careful with your spending habits) before you buy. This acts as a ‘circuit breaker’ to allow you to assess if you really need or want to make the purchase.

Read more: Can’t resist splurging in online shopping? Here’s why

3. Check the people promoting the products
Influencers help to spread the word about a product and can help you imagine how it might look on you, or in your home. Check the caption to see if there’s any reference to an advert or sponsorship in the post, which means the promotion is a paid collaboration with a brand.

4. Be scam-aware

You should always remain cautious of potential scams. More than a third (35 per cent) of people surveyed aged 55-plus who do not shop on social media said they are put off from doing so because they are worried about fraud.

Remember to research the website or company and check that the name of the webpage does not contain spelling errors or strange characters (telltale signs of scams). Read independent reviews to check how other people’s experience was with the seller.

5. Paying by credit card could give you added protection
Many credit cards offer features known as price protection and purchase protection to provide financial coverage for customers.

Read more: Common credit card fraud and how to avoid it

Visa also has a ‘zero liability’ policy on its cards, which provides a guarantee that its customers won’t be held responsible for unauthorised or fraudulent charges.

Have you ever bought something advertised to you on social media? Have you fallen victim to a shopping scam?

– With PA

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