How Safe Is It To Make Payments on Your Phone?

safe to make payments

Security is a major concern for most people, whether it is to do with a small business or a personal phone user giving card details over the phone. With an increasing number of payment apps that facilitate credit, banking, and other financial transactions from a smartphone, this concern is justified. There have been frauds and scams where people have lost money through payments done over a phone, but it is not something that cannot be understood and dealt with. Making payments over a phone can be safe as long as users are smart about it. 

Is it safe to make payments over the phone? 

When you consider it, mobile payments can be much safer than swiping at a terminal, since this makes it harder for hackers to access any details in case of a data breach. The main reason for this is that your actual financial information is not transferred during a monetary transaction. Payments are always authorized through an encrypted version of the credit card details. 

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But it is important to remember that even with advanced security features, there are some tips to remember to ensure that your financial information is not compromised.

Using the Right Apps 

The first thing to remember is that all untrustworthy apps can be a potential security risk, and it is best to avoid them. Be mindful and cautious of any software you put in your phone, particularly if you are already using another app on the same phone for your financial transactions. Any other unrelated apps on your phone can contain malware designed to capture payment information, sending it to the wrong hands. Before downloading any app on your phone, make sure to verify the following information : 

  1. Know the vendor and/or developer. The app store usually links directly to the vendor’s website, and there should be a security or privacy policy about how and what information is being collected and used, and what information is sent to advertisers as a third party.
  2. Look at how many times an app has been downloaded, since this figure can help gauge the trustworthiness of the app. An app that is downloaded millions of times means that it works well for users; but an app with fewer downloads can be safe too – as long as the vendor gives the security or privacy policy clearly. 
  3. Reviews are a boon in the digital age, and can help you learn about all kinds of experiences users have with an app – positive or negative. However, reviews can be bought or faked, so be mindful of that. 
  4. Permissions are something that we don’t think about much before using an app, but do take a  look at what the app is asking for.  These are okay as long as they are relevant – for example, photo apps need access to cameras and your phone gallery, messaging apps need access to your messages, and others may need access to social media accounts. Ensure that the permissions are appropriate for the type of app being used, and only use the apps that respect a user’s right to privacy.

Trusted Payment Platforms

Using the latest version of the software provided for a device or a verifiable and trusted third-party platform is essential to ensure that you are getting the benefits of all security features. This should be ensured before adding any kind of payment information to a smartphone. There are various fraudulent mobile payment apps that are used for gathering credit card details.

Password Protected 

Phones should be locked, and locked well. An unlocked phone containing any financial information is a gold mine to fraudsters. Without any security, an unlocked phone can give access to all your financial and personal information. 

A strong password that is difficult to crack is one of the easiest and best ways to protect your phone as well as the information stored on it. Latest phones also offer advanced features like fingerprint unlock, facial recognition, iris scan, all of which can add more security than a simple PIN to unlock a phone or app.

Perils of Public Wi-Fi 

As a rule, do not share any sensitive information over an open public Wi-Fi. Any information passed through these networks is accessible to everyone, and hackers can be scouting for this vulnerability. It is much safer to use your phone carrier’s cellular network, or a home WiFi which comes with password protection. 

In remote locations, users can purchase a virtual private network (VPN) for a secure internet connection that uses private servers. 

Credit Card versus Debit Card Info 

It is better to store credit card information rather than a debit card because credit cards carry much more protection as compared to the latter. Most credit cards have a zero-fraud liability policy, eliminating the risk of any unauthorized charges. 

The Smaller Details 

Finally, a little bit of common sense can go a long way in ensuring that payments made over a phone are safe. If something seems suspicious, it probably is not safe, so it is better to err on the side of caution.