Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'



Contests and

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!


AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

You can get free, face-to-face tax assistance nationwide.

Money Matters Tip Sheets

Download and print out these PDFs to help with your financial matters.

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming Money webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Jobs You Might Like

most popular



Ask the Experts

Is Applying Online for a Credit Card Safe?

Check security and be alert for 'phishing' scams

Q. Is it safe to apply for a credit card online? I want to get a card from a specific bank but I live too far from a branch to go there in person.

A. Identity theft is a concern, but today most banks use secure online technology. To make sure the bank's website is safe, look for "https" at the start of its address. The "s" stands for "secure."

See also: Is it better to use a debit or credit card?

Lock chained around computer chips, online credit card application safety

Make sure you see the security lock icon when entering personal information online. — Photo by Getty Images

Information you're sending to the bank will be scrambled so that it will be useless to any hackers trying to steal it en route. Also, look for a lock icon at the bottom right side of the page, another visual sign that the site is secure.

It should always be you who initiates an application of this kind. If you get email offering you a credit card, and perhaps asking for your Social Security number, don't assume it's legitimate and don't share any information.

If you're interested in the offer, call the bank. If it's offering no such deal, pat yourself on the back: You've just avoided being a victim in a "phishing" expedition.

In phishing schemes, identity thieves send official-looking emails asking you to apply for a credit card, update online account information or confirm a transaction. Whatever form it takes, it's an attempt to steal your personal information.

Some phishing emails contain links to what look like the websites of well-known national companies. Even experts can't always tell the difference when they're at a fake site.

To learn more, check with the Anti-Phishing Working Group or Onguard Online.

Also of interest: Think twice about store-branded credit cards. >>

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

your money

Discounts & Benefits