Why You Should Check Out As A Guest When Shopping Online

When you buy stuff online, most retailers give you the option to check out as a guest or register with them. The latter can make it more convenient to check out next time, but here's the case for buying as a guest.

Photo by negativespace.co

Of course, there are benefits to registering and creating an online account with a site. Again, it's more convenient, and hey, maybe they will send you coupons down the road. However, CNET makes an important point against it:

Nearly every online retailer will ask you to create an account before checkout. If you can check out as a "guest," you should. Using a guest account will keep a lot of your personal data off the company's servers and safe in the event of a hack.

If you don't shop at a retailer often, it's probably worth staying on the safe side and just buying as a guest. For more tips on how to shop safely online, check out their full post at the link below.

How to shop online and stay secure [CNET]


Comments

    Most of the data you would provide will still be contained within the order itself (name, contact info, address etc) so all this would achieve is making future purchases more laborious...

    Well that's incorrect. They'll still keep your order information on the server in the event of returns or in line with their terms of use. The only additional piece of information you give is the password, which will usually be encrypted using a hashing algoritm and salt so it can't be looked up in a rainbow table.

    Basically, your details are still going to be in their database, and potentially shared with third parties (check the terms of use before purchasing). They can just export the information and import it to another database on their "company servers". Information just doesn't disappear once your order is complete.

    All websites keep all the info you provide, logged in or not, they have to do it in case they get audited by the ATO. That info should be deleted after 5 years, but that's another story.

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