Risks of Mobile Payment Smartphone Apps

With mobile wallets and payment apps available on nearly all smartphones today, the way we look at in-person payments has changed for good. While the adoption of mobile wallets and payment apps has been slow, there are benefits to using these apps (besides being able to buy coffee when you forget your wallet.)

For consumers, mobile payments offer a payment alternative that’s arguably safer than EMV chip cards. Your method of payment is attached to your phone, which means it’s protected not only by your phone’s password, but also by any biometric security features you have enabled on your phone. Mobile payments also utilize tokenization, a process that replaces your sensitive payment data with a token consisting of analogous non-sensitive data (such as random numbers). This token has no real meaning or value and is only directly translatable by the tokenization system itself, meaning your payment information is transferred quickly and safely. Additionally, if you’ve shopped at a store that has experienced a data breach, your information will remain safe.

For merchants and retailers, mobile payments open a world of interactive possibilities with their customers. Although adoption of mobile payment tech has been slow, those who do use mobile payments can expect faster checkout times. Mobile payments also allow retailers to collect important data about their customers’ shopping habits, which they can use to make the shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable. One of our favorite perks is the opportunity for retailers to send any type of loyalty points or rewards directly to our phones – this means we never have to dig for another member card or remember to bring coupons again!

For those of you that are currently using mobile payments, here are a few tips to help mitigate the risks of mobile payment smartphone apps and keep your transactions safe:

  1. First and foremost, make sure all of your accounts have unique and secure passwords. This may go without saying, but if a thief can figure out one of your passwords, having all of your other accounts set to the same password can mean serious trouble for you and your information (not to mention your bank account!)
  2. If possible, sign up for two-factor authentication. Many banks do this already, but putting this extra measure in place will make it nearly impossible for someone to access your account, even if they know your password.
  3. Refrain from processing mobile payments on public or open WiFi networks. If you’re going to process a payment while connect to WiFi, make sure it’s a password protected network with proper security measures in place.

However you decide to pay, make sure you’re reaping all of the rewards with none of the risks!

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