by Audrey Oh
As we move closer to a cashless society, the number of people choosing to make mobile payments continues to increase. Mobile payment apps allow anyone with a smartphone to store their payment information and use their phone to purchase goods with one swipe on a point-of-sale (POS) terminal. But is mobile pay safe? How can you protect yourself from fraudulent activity and theft? We’ve put together a handy guide to secure, risk-free payments to help you stay safe when using mobile pay.
Select a Trustworthy Payment Platform
There are hundreds of providers offering mobile pay platforms and apps. If you’re going to store your payment information in your phone, use integrated software such as Android Pay or Apple Pay. Alternatively, take the time to research the payment platforms available and go with the one you know you can trust, such as Google Pay. A recognisable brand builds a reputation based on the service it delivers. It will have systems in place to address any issues that arise.
Avoid any apps you’ve never heard of, regardless of what they are offering. Hackers can easily create a mobile payment app to access your payment information fraudulently. They can then sell your information or use it to carry out phishing attacks on you.
Update Your Passwords Regularly
If you’re using mobile payments, never leave your phone unlocked. Without strong password protection, anyone can get into your phone and access the information stored within it.
How many of us use the same password for everything “because it’s easy to remember”? This habit leaves you vulnerable to fraudsters who can access all of your accounts and data if they crack your password. Many trustworthy pieces of software — such as Lastpass — safely store your passwords. So there’s no excuse for using one password for all your accounts. It’s also important to change your password every month or two. Follow the guidance provided when you’re asked to set a password and avoid using easy-to-guess dates such as your birthday or hometown.
Don’t Send Payment Information through Public Wi-Fi
If you regularly tap into public Wi-Fi or open zones, wait until you’re home to send payment information. A private password-protected internet connection is much more secure than open Wi-Fi channels, which are accessible to anyone. Alternatively, use your phone carrier’s cellular network or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to make online purchases. Fraudsters could intercept any payment information you send through public wi-fi.
Opt for Credit Card Payments
Credit cards offer a much higher level of protection than debit cards. If there are any fraudulent transactions made on your account, you can probably recoup any funds taken if you pay by credit card. The situation is much less certain with a debit card. Depending on how long you leave it to report the crime and the terms set out by your provider, you could be liable to cover the full cost of the fraudulent transactions.
Don’t Ignore Your Credit Card Statements
When life gets busy, it can be tempting to ignore credit card statements and assume you’re only charged for what you paid for. This could be a costly mistake. It’s unlikely a credit card company will pick up on fraudulent spending unless it represents highly unusual activity on your account. The person who is most likely to notice something amiss is you. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of checking your statements when they come through. The quicker you spot any criminal activity on your account, the easier it will be to resolve. As a result, it’s more likely you won’t end up out of pocket.
Mobile payments are extremely convenient and it’s no surprise they are becoming increasingly popular. However, if used without caution, you could be more vulnerable to fraudulent activity. Make sure you select a reliable payment platform and keep an eye on the money leaving your account so you can quickly take action if you need to. Mobile pay is safe if used wisely.