When it comes to holiday shopping most of us rely on the internet, it’s easier, you don’t have to spend hours in the parking lot looking for a parking spot and in the store searching for the perfect gift, nor do you have to stand in long lines! Shopping online can be a win-win if you do it correctly and it can also save you money, too.
Tech expert, Mario Armstrong is the leader when it comes to searching for the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list. He joined me for an interview this week to chat about his favorite tech apps, the secret to shopping safely and securely via the world wide web, and the reason you should be paying for shipping this holiday season.
Candace Rose: Time is always a factor, especially during the holidays. How can we save time this season?
Mario Armstrong: “I have five great tips that will help you save time and some money, but definitely save some time and make it stress-free and also fast and secure.
My first tip is to use apps that are going to help you do some comparison shopping to make sure you get the best deal possible. Why do all that hard work and bounce across all these different websites when you can use a free app like RetailMeNot or a free app like RedLaser. Both of those will help you do the comparison shopping for you to make sure you get the best deal.
And then when you’re ready to make a transaction and you’re ready to actually buy something, look for that logo that says PayPal. When you see the PayPal logo that’s going to let you know that you’re going to be able to shop safe and fast because you don’t have to keep plugging in your credit card information or your debit card or all that other information and looking for expiration dates, trying to find your purse or your wallet to find that info. Once you set up your PayPal account once, you can not only put money into your PayPal account, you can also have your credit cards and your bank account cards in that PayPal account as well. That means when you go to pay purchase, you do one click, and you’re off and running, so you’re going to save a lot of time that way.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to make shopping transactions easier?
Mario Armstrong: “I think we can make them a little bit easier by using a digital wallet. We’ve been hearing a lot about digital wallets lately. This has the ability to have different modes of payment right on your mobile phone. Having that digital wallet means you’re going to be able to have different cards, your favorite methods of payment right there on your mobile device, that’s one way.
Another way to make things easier for you is to use the free app that I use all the time, it’s called Slice. I use it every holiday season to track all of my online transactions. It’s one mobile app that will not only give me the receipts of all my transactions, but also the shipping confirmation so I know whether or not something has made it to its destination or if it’s still in transit or if I have a return, I don’t have to dig through hundreds of emails to find that receipt…I can just pull up the Slice app and it’ll print it right out.”
Candace Rose: How can we ensure that shopping online is safe?
Mario Armstrong: “I think there’s a couple of things we can do, and the first thing is look for PayPal because when you shop using PayPal – this is why I partnered with them for the holidays – they have multiple layers of protection in place. Those multiple layers of protection protects your private data and your private information because it doesn’t get carried to the merchant. The merchant never sees all of that personal information that could be hacked and then used against you, so that’s number one.
Number two – change your passwords! I know this isn’t sexy advice, nobody wants to hear this, but do this twice a year and do at least 10 alphanumeric characters using a combination of letters and symbols. Make it easy on yourself and create some kind of phrase that’s made out of these symbols and numbers and letters, but change it twice a year.”
Candace Rose: How do you know if a website or even a store is safe to use your credit card or your debit card?
Mario Armstrong: “There’s a couple things that still remain true in terms of being secure. When shopping online look for that closed padlock, it’s going to be in the browser window, that’s a great sign. Up at the top in the web address bar right before the www, look for https. The letter s stands for secure and that lets you know your transaction is going to be safe.”
Candace Rose: Is it possible to make holiday shopping stress-free?
Mario Armstrong: “It is. I’ve got a two-fold formula for this – one is drink some eggnog! The other is, I think people worry a lot about shipping. When you shop online one of the benefits of doing that is you try to get free shipping for everything that you’re buying. When you do that, that means it’s going to take longer to get to you. As we’re getting closer and closer to the day, you’re probably going to want to pay for shipping and really reading the fine print because weather can interrupt it and a lot of other things can pop up that can cause problems.
If you really are a big worry wart, the way to really get stress-free is to shop at a brick and mortar store online. Shop at your favorite store online and then do the in-store pickup, that way you’re not going through all the aisles trying to find things, you’ve already done that in your pajamas at home online. Just go to the store and pick it all up and then leave – stress-free.”
Candace Rose: I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve already received delays in shipping, paying for shipping is definitely the way to go.
Mario Armstrong: “It’s early for you to even have those delays, we have to be aware of that. Use that Slice app as well, and PayPal has their own app as well. It can help you find discounts, track all of your spending. There are tools that we can really be using to make it much easier for us. PayPal is helping us make it fast and secure.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Mario Armstrong: “I would say head over to their website, they have tons of info over there on PayPal.com. They have a holiday gift guide that’s amazing. If you Google ‘The holiday gift guide by PayPal’, you’ll see some really cool gift guide ideas that are all about experiences. I was actually looking at it while we were off air. I have a birthday coming up and they have really cool experiences – things like racing cars at the Daytona Race Track. I’m big into the experiences. I don’t mind buying people things, but I’d much rather spend time with family and friends doing an experience where you can have a memory of a lifetime.”