In short....you don't.  At 3B we have a team of Penetration testers that can check it out for you but its unlikely that you will want us to do that before you book your takeaway curry or your trip out to a Stately Home or Garden. Many of these businesses didn't have the facility to take payments a couple of weeks ago, so sometimes you get the feeling that they have been 'rushed in', now we are starting to get life back to some sense of normality.

I experienced it myself this week when I was looking to book up for a Sunday afternoon visit to a local attraction for the family. We all understand the rationale behind managing visitor numbers and allocating time slots so taking payment upfront seems like the next logical step. It guarantees some income, (and goodness know, businesses need that right now), and is a great solution to a difficult problem. The only thing is, how do you know that the website they have hurriedly put together is secure? Usually if you are offered the option to pay via a known payment gateway, such as Worldpay, Sagepay, Paypal etc (others are available), you know you have some assurance but even these sites have been known to have been cloned and replicated so always check the URL when you are redirected to a page that collects your payment card details......(and never use a debit card online, only your credit card as you far have more protection from the Consumer Credit Act.)

One of the areas in payments that has seen significant growth since the Corona outbreak is the use of Virtual Payment Cards. These are cards that are pre-loaded with funds that can be spent online in much the same way as a standard payment card. If you know that your takeaway is going to cost £25,  then that's what you load onto the card. Once the balance is depleted, then that's it, you cannot spend any more as they generally do not allow accounts to go overdrawn. If the card number is compromised in some way, you have limited your exposure and as long as you manage to collect your curry, everyone is a winner - except the fraudster who has captured the details of a card that has no value.

These services were quite niche until the start of 2020 but along with contactless payments, usage has rocketed. There are virtually no UK high street banks that offer this feature at the moment, so solutions have to be sought elsewhere. With some careful shopping, a free to use virtual card with no monthly top up fees can be found. These would seem to offer a credible solution to the problem of being forced to make an internet payment, perhaps against your better judgement...perhaps in this instance, you can have your cake and eat it!