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Stay secure while making a mobile payment – Best Practices and Hacks

19 April, 2021 Security

Stay secure while making a mobile payment

 

In this digital era, the majority of people own a smartphone and shop online but are still somewhat skeptical of mobile payments. According to a survey in 2018, nearly 56% of the respondents used mobile payment, and 95% reported using traditional cards for payment. However, the number of mobile banking is predicted to increase to 3.6 billion by 2024. That's a lot of people, a lot of targets for the hackers and criminals.

 

You can stay safe and protect your mobile devices by understanding the risks involved in mobile payments and best practices to keep your online information safe.

 

Risks Associated with mobile payment

There has been a surge in mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, and WeChat Pay because of convenience. However, they come with their own sets of risks and opportunities for criminals to scam people.

 

One of the biggest risks associated with mobile payment is that all your online activities can be tracked by cybercriminals and they can easily get your credentials including account numbers, passwords, and usernames.

 

In such cases, you will not only end up with an empty bank account, but you'll also lose your identity. That is why tech security experts recommend using a VPN to encrypt all traffic on your mobile phones and other devices. Before you get a VPN, make sure to check out a list of best VPNs for iPhones if you're an Apple user. Similarly, you can Google reliable VPNs for Android devices as well.


Tips to stay secure while making mobile payments

Here are some tips to keep you safe while making mobile payments online.

 

1. Use trusted P2P Payment Apps

If you are going to use a third-party payment app or a third-party platform like PayPal, make sure to use a trusted platform where you can add your payment information. There are many fraudulent mobile payment apps on the App store that solely exist for stealing credit card information. One tip is to only download mobile apps from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Similarly, banks and private businesses like Starbucks offer P2P services with official app links on their website that you can access.

 

Also, make sure to review the app's terms of service before signing up and entering your personal information. Pay attention to how your information is stored and processed by the app, including how they settle disputes and complaints. Verify these things before downloading the app on your phone:

  • How many downloads does the app have?
  • Learn about the vendor and is it the official app from the vendor or a third party app
  • Read online reviews by customers and see how their experience has been with the application
  • Review the app permissions that give the vendors access to some parts of your phone like images, location, contacts, and more.

 

2. Use strong password

Make sure to use a strong password to lock your phone. Avoid using 12345 or qwerty for passwords. Without strong security, a thief or hacker can easily get into your phone and access whatever personal information is stored in it, including your financial information. Therefore, using a strong password is one of the best ways to ensure protection and stay secure during mobile banking.

 

You can use modern security features like facial recognition, iris scan, fingerprint lock, and even voice recognition to make your password secure. You can also use two-factor authentication to foolproof the security of your device. Most latest phones are offering this technology, so consider making it your default login.

 

3. Use a VPN

For users who are constantly on the move and use public Wi-Fi, you need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Public Wi-Fi is not secure because it is accessible to everyone and easy to hack. This means your payment information can be intercepted on public Wi-Fi when you are making mobile payments.

 

When you use a VPN, it encrypts your online traffic and provides a secure internet connection whether you are using public Wi-Fi or your home's protected internet connection. VPN encrypts and reroutes your online traffic making it impossible for anyone to track, thus protecting online privacy and keeping you safe when you make online purchases.

 

Enable built-in mobile security features

 

4. Enable built-in mobile security features

Make sure to enable built-in security features on your mobile phones. For example, you can enable the lock or locate a lost or stolen phone on Apple, Android, and Windows phones. This way in case you lose your phone or it gets stolen, you can remotely wipe all user data including passwords, personal information, and credit card information.

 

You can also make the phone inoperable if it is recovered by an unauthorized user and can also prevent unauthorized factory reset attempts.

 

5. Regularly monitor your credit card transactions

Regularly, check your credit card transactions even if you have used the above-mentioned security tips on your mobile phones. It will help you detect any suspicious transactions or changes in your account. In case of any breach, you can report unauthorized transactions to your bank.

 

If you feel like your credit card details have been compromised, don't hesitate to reach out to your bank and block all account transactions. You can also open a new account just to be on the safe side.

 

Conclusion

If you follow these tips, you can securely use mobile payment apps without worrying about losing your data. Be very careful about the online payment apps you use because there are many fake apps out there created solely for the purpose of stealing your personal information and credit card details. Therefore, take these security measures and stick to apps that are widely used like Apple Pay, PayPal, and GooglePay. Also, don't forget to use a VPN on your mobile device.

According to the ESET Malware Researcher, Lukas Stefanko, users can use popular payment apps like Google Pay or Apple Pay because they offer contactless payment. Basically, your credit card information is not provided to the merchant, instead, they only receive the payment and virtual account names that are created for every payment. Therefore, it upholds the online privacy of users while conducting mobile payments. Similarly, to enhance your online security and privacy, make sure to use a VPN.

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