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Online Shopping Tips & Secure Ordering Information

Visa International has a website with information on security and the internet, which contains helpful information in evaluating whether the site you are ordering from is secure. These pages can be found here.

Visa's recommendations as quoted from the above links:

Look for signs of security and never send payment information via e-mail.

There are several ways to tell if a merchant site is secure. Symbols like an unbroken lock or key, a URL that begins https://, and the words Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) mean that no one but you and the merchant can view your payment information. Some merch ants also ask you to create a personal account that requires a password to enter an order. This is a secure method as long as you always keep your password private, create passwords that are hard to figure out (avoiding numbers like your birth date, phone number, or social security number), and change your passwords often.

Also, never send your payment information via e-mail. Information that travels over the Internet as regular electronic mail is not fully protected from being read by outside parties. All reputable merchant sites use encryption methods that will protect yo ur private data from being read by others as you make an online transaction. If you choose to use your payment card online, make sure that you are using a secure browser, and always look for the merchant's privacy policy and an explanation of how your personal information will be protected. Many reliable merchant sites will also allow you to pay by phone, fax, or mail.

You can find a copy of our Privacy Policy by clicking here.

Examples of how to determine if your connection is secure:
These pages are secure:

These pages are NOT secure:

You can check our Security Certificate by clicking here and typing "" (without the quotes) in the box that follows. You can also check the security certificate of any other site this way to see if they support SSL Encryption (described below). SSL Encryption is required for ALL ONLINE PURCHASES.

Q. Is my confidential information secure?
A. Whenever Gatewest asks you to send confidential information over the Internet, including personal account data, we require that a "secure session" using SSL first be established.

Q. What is a "secure session" and how does it help keep my information safe?
A. During a secure SSL session, data passed back and forth between your computer and Gatewest systems is secured by using public key cryptography. Your computer exchanges key information with Gatewest computers to create a private conversation that only y our computer and Gatewest systems can understand.

Q. What specifically is SSL?
A. Any time you access or supply Card account information in one of our secure online areas, that information is encrypted by a technology called Secure Sockets Layer, often abbreviated as SSL. SSL technology secretly encodes information as it is being se nt over the Internet between your computer and Gatewest systems, helping to ensure that the information remains confidential. The use of SSL requires two components: an SSL-compatible browser and a web server to perform the "key-exchange" that establishes an SSL connection to Gatewest Web server systems.

Q. What type of browser do I need?
A. To benefit from SSL technology, you will need a browser with SSL capabilities. Examples of SSL browsers include Netscape 2.0, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 2.0, and the Web browser for America Online version 3.0 for Windows. (Note that some older versi ons of browsers will not support SSL sessions). If you don't already have a browser with SSL capabilities, you will need to download an SSL browser first.

Q. What type of connection do I need?
A. Nearly all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) automatically enable the SSL session described above, as do most online services such as America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy. If you use your company's internal connection to access the Internet and you find you cannot access any Gatewest secured pages with an SSL browser described above, your company may be blocking access via a "firewall" or proxy server. Please speak to your firm's Internet access systems administrator for further details on your net work's Internet access.

Q. When do I enter into a "secure SSL session"?
A. Secure SSL sessions are established in Gatewest Online Services areas where your personal information is being transmitted.

Q. Why do I need an ID and password?
A. Many areas require the use of an ID and password as an additional security measure that helps protect your confidential information. This lets Gatewest verify exactly who you are, thereby allowing you access to your account information, and helping pre vent unauthorized access.

Q. Why can I still see some of my account information even after I have exited Gatewests' website?
A. Browser software often "caches" pages as you look at them, meaning that some pages are saved in your computer's temporary memory. Therefore, you may find that clicking on your back button shows you a saved version of a previously viewed page. Please ke ep in mind that caching in no way affects the security of your confidential User-ID or password. If you use your computer in a public place, please read "What should I do if I am using a 'public' computer?" below.

Q. What should I do if I am using a "public"computer?
A. If you use a computer that others also work on and you are uncomfortable that they may view "cached" pages after you have left the station, then please quit/exit your browser software before leaving. This will decrease the possibility of anyone viewing confidential information. No other users will be able to access your credit card account information online.

Q. What are "cookies"? Do I need to accept them ?
A. A cookie is a text file on your computer that reminds our system of your particular browser preferences and security requirements and lets Gatewest know exactly who you are. If your browser prompts you when a cookie is "served," you must accept it or a ccess to confidential information will be denied, because we will not be able to ensure that the data is being sent to the proper parties. Because cookies are site specific, only Gatewest Online Services can access, decode, and make use of the information .

Q. After I type in my User-ID and password and then press "Login" instead proceeding, I just see the same page all over again. Why does this happen?
A. Most probably, you are using Netscape browser software, version 4.0 or higher, with "disable cookies" chosen. For reasons described in "What are 'cookies'? Do I need to accept them?" above, you should make the following changes: click on "Edit," then s elect "Preferences," then select "Advanced" (not the plus sign next to "Advanced"). Finally, choose either "Accept only cookies that get sent back to the originating server" or "Warn me before accepting a cookie" and press "OK." This change will allow us to confirm your identity and send you confidential account information.

This problem also happens when you are connecting using America Online (AOL), or you are using an outdated or non-standard version of Internet Explorer or Netscape. This also can happen if you use WebTV, or if you are accessing the internet through a pro xy server.

There are other reasons why this happens, but we are unable to remedy them because they exist on your side of the system, and not ours. If you are unable to login because you keep seeing the same login screen over and over again, it is due to a setting w ithin your computer system, or an issue to do with your Internet Service Provider, which we are unable to assist you.

Gatewest believes strongly that we have a responsibilty to protect your confidential information to the best of our abilities. In order to securely access your account information via the Internet, we recommend you use the latest browser versions availabl e. Access with Netscape versions before 1.12 (Mac or Unix) or 1.22 (Windows) is prohibited due to security concerns.

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