The USPTO makes use of PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) technologies and methods to secure transactions and information. Without proper identification (Customer Numbers and Digital Certificates) you cannot use some features of our online systems, such as pending application statuses or financial transactions.
The USPTO is also sensitive to your concerns regarding the security of using your credit cards to purchase items over the Internet. Safeguarding your privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us. The USPTO uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which encrypts your credit card data while it is being transferred. SSL makes it very difficult for someone to steal your credit card information.
More information regarding a browser's encryption can usually be found in the security information section of the browser's "Help" feature (look for information about encryption). You can also contact your system administrator or your Internet Service Provider for information about the level of encryption on your browser.
To learn more about SSL, see: Transport Layer Security.