Below is a guest post from Instabill, an online payment processor specializing in high risk merchant accounts.

The e-commerce industry has grown exponentially throughout the years. Statistics show that total e-commerce sales in the United States alone were $165.4 billion. In 2011, the United Kingdom spent a record-breaking £68 billion -- a 16% increase from 2010. Consumers feel confident in their online purchases, but they often make incredibly stupid mistakes.

Here's a glimpse of the top five mistakes consumers often make when using credit cards online.

  1. Clicking the "Pay Now" button multiple times.
    Consumers often click on the "Pay Now" button multiple times when trying to check out. When a new page doesn't load right away, they assume their request to process the transaction hasn't, well, processed. Instead of waiting for a timeout or "404" error page to load, they continue to click on the "Pay Now" button until the new page appears, resulting in multiple unintentional purchases.
  2. Ignoring the fine print.
    Many consumers don't bother reading the fine print, especially on websites that offer free trials. Think about it: If a website advertises a product or service as a "free trial," why would they have to provide payment information? The fine-print details explain that they will be charged for continued services once the trial ends, and to cancel their services if they do not wish to be charged.
  3. Lack of communication among consumers who share credit cards.
    When a consumer shares their credit card with another person, it's vital to communicate new purchases to all who see the billing statement. We receive phone calls from cardholders who forget they've let their children use their cards, or employees who forget a co-worker has access to their credit card as well.
  4. Ignoring the billing descriptor.
    A lot of merchants include their customer service telephone number right in their billing descriptor. However, many consumers overlook this and call their credit card issuing bank. While issuing banks are able to help resolve discrepancies, it's always best for unsatisfied customers to contact the merchant first. When a cardholder contacts their issuing bank first, they initiate a chargeback, which costs both merchant and payment processor more money in the end.
  5. Not reviewing billing statements as they arrive.
    When consumers receive their monthly credit card billing statement, they need to review it. This will allow the cardholder to catch any discrepancies. They also won't wonder why they were charged $600 three months ago.