How Safe Are Mobile Payments from Hackers?

by Tania Longeau 0

Security

When it comes to the evolution of the payment industry, some of the biggest movements weren’t even happening until two or three years ago. The business world is changing on a daily basis and the simple notion of purchasing something is no different.

Every day, we’re trying to find new ways to meet the needs of consumers, whether that be making payments faster, more convenient or more unique to the customer. The future of digital payments looks promising, but consumers also come with their reservations.

Based on 2015 mobile payment reports, 52% of North Americans were aware of the option for mobile payments; however, only 18% use this payment option regularly.

For some, there are a few hesitations, including the fact that they are happy enough with the cash or card system they already have in place. For business owners, using cards or cash makes it easier to print business receipts and maintain a much-needed paper trail.

The other main worry is the aspect of security. Many customers are comfortable with the level of safety in their personal identification number (PIN) and card taps and don’t trust the idea of using their phone to pay.

What about hackers? How safe is their money for certain? The physical aspect of a card and PIN is enough to keep consumers at bay, but the idea of sending money through their phone raises flags for many.

So, how safe are mobile payments from hackers?

Merchants and Mobile Safety

 Like all technology that requires the internet and some personal information, no one is ever completely immune to hackers. While there are security measures that can get in the way of a hacker’s job, it only takes a little slip-up for thieves to get the information they’re looking for.

Even with the best security systems in place, some of the biggest hacks of 2017 still affected big name companies and their customers. Although mobile payment use has increased dramatically over the last couple of years, store owners still share worry about safety.

In 2016, only 23% of merchants believed that fraud was increasing in mobile payment options, yet this number grew to 40% in 2017. While 60% of merchants believe that browser-based mobile payments have some of the highest risk factors for fraud, most still maintain the same level of protection for their customers.

What this tells us is that while hackers may have a presence in mobile payments, most business owners do not see a need to apply additional tools for risk-management. In fact, in 2017, almost 30% of business owners accepted mobile payments–a number that has nearly doubled from five years ago.

Risk Factors with Mobile Payments 

Mobile payments are exposed to hackers for a few reasons, the first being that no system is completely safe from hackers. Every system has its vulnerabilities, so even if you choose a high-end product or service, you still run the risk of being exposed.

Public WiFi is another luxury that exposes users to cyber-attacks since hackers have an increased level of accessibility to your unsecured information. It is suggested that mobile users consider using VPN and SSL connections to protect personal information.

When you aren’t using your WiFi, Bluetooth or sharing, these components should all be turned off as an added precaution.

How to Maintain Safety with a Mobile Payment App

 Technically speaking, mobile payment options could be considered safer than traditional payment options simply because they do not require your card number or expiration date.

It’s also good to know that there are a few things you can do personally to decrease your chances of having security issues with your mobile payments.

Set a Strong Password

There are a range of security options to choose from with your phone, and depending on the kind that you have, you can choose from multi-digit number codes, fingerprint reading or even facial recognition.

You might even be able to decide if your mobile payment app will require additional passwords to access and use them. Keep in mind to create very unique passwords and to change them as frequently as you can without forgetting them.

Research Your Options

Download mobile payment apps only from companies that you know you can trust. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying bulk ink cartridges or an entire office building, you should be confident in knowing that your money is going to the right place.

Head online and look for good reviews or ask around for other people’s preferences.

Download a “Find My Phone” App

If you’ve lost your phone before, you were worried about important e-mails and old photos. With mobile payments, if you lose your phone, you could be losing a large portion of your wallet!

An app that will help you find your phone can show you its location so that you can retrieve it quickly.

Educate Your Family

Even if you’re taking the right precautions, you’re still only as safe as your weakest link. Educate family members about the safety precautions they should be taking, both on family devices as well as personal devices.

This means telling them about updating their passwords and teaching them how to watch out for questionable signs or phishing attacks. Oftentimes, it is younger audiences and the senior population who are easier to manipulate for information, so try to inform them first.

Conclusion

 Despite the obvious flaws of most of our payment options, we continue to rely on their convenience to suit our unique and busy lifestyles. Although mobile payments are not 100% safe from hackers, taking the time to update your security options and create distinctive passwords is a good place to start.

Work with a mobile payment app that you can trust, such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Samsung Pay, which are three well-known companies in the mobile field. These options are also ideal since you can call in or physically speak to a representative about their mobile wallet options.