Q&A: What's the safest way to pay a bill online while traveling?

 June 11, 2021

Question: Oh, no, I forgot to pay a bill before taking off on my trip. What’s the safest way for me to access an account with sensitive personal information while traveling?

Answer: It's easy to forget to pay a bill while you're scrambling to get out the door, and no one wants to get hit with a late fee after a trip.

Fortunately, there are a few fairly safe ways to pay that bill — even if you don't have a virtual private network (VPN):

  1. Use a secure Wi-Fi network. Are you staying with a friend or relative with a secure Wi-Fi network protected by a strong password? Use their Wi-Fi to connect and pay online.
  2. Pay by phone. You can go "old school" and pay by phone. Use a credit card, rather than a debit card if you can. Credit cards have fraud protections and don't offer direct access to your money.
  3. Use your smartphone. You can turn off Wi-Fi and use your data plan to log into your account on your phone to pay the bill. Or, use your phone's Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the internet using your laptop or tablet.

These options aren't perfect, but they're safer than using public Wi-Fi. For added security, make sure you set up two-factor authentication on your account, so a thief can't access it with your password alone. And change your account passwords when you get back home.

If you don't feel 100 percent safe, you could call the company, ask them to waive your late fee, and pay when you get home.

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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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