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Best Practices for Mobile Payment Security

Mobile commerce usage has been steadily building up year after year. Mobile payments are estimated to reach almost $50 million in 2021, while the technology development for mobile payments is projected to be valued at $1.77 billion by 2024.

However, though many people feel comfortable and appreciative of the convenience of having mobile wallets and payment apps, many still have concerns about mobile payment security risks. According to reports, 70% of the US population sees security as the largest hindrance for them to not jump in the use of mobile payments.

Understanding How Mobile Payments Work

Contactless payment is a secure method that allows customers to pay for products or services using their mobile device, credit or debit cards through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC). This time, let's focus on using a mobile phone for payments.

From the customer's side, they must have a mobile wallet, usually an app where they can store their credit card information and other payment card details in order to pay for the transactions. The most popular smartphone wallets are Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Apple Pay.

To start, the app must be downloaded on their device. Then, the user must add their payment card account numbers. As an added protection, the 16-digit card number will not be used. Instead, the app will provide a randomly generated alphanumeric ID.

In a physical purchase, the smartphone will be brought near to the Point-of-Sale (POS) device. The POS must have NFC technology to complete the transaction. However, in other cases, QR codes, sound waves, magnetic secure transmission (MST) are also used.

Therefore, any business that wants to have mobile payments enabled must invest on:

  1. Equipment for accepting mobile payments, specifically the POS terminal
  2. NFC Technology to process mobile payments
  3. A merchant services provider and a card processor to secure the mobile payments

Addressing Payment Security Concerns

One of the largest mobile payment security concerns one can suffer from is a data breach. As much as no one wants it to happen, this is highly inevitable. Around a thousand breaches happen year after year. In fact, Statista reported 1,506 data breaches occurred in the US in 2019 and about 540 in the first half of 2020.

Despite these challenges, there is still hope in improving mobile payments security. There are many organizations working towards helping companies embrace new technology and be better in handling their consumer's data. For instance, ISACA helps professionals through its Cybersecurity Nexus protect their organizations and strengthen their workforce.

In ISACA's work in IT audit, risk, and governance, it has provided approval towards mobile payments, even stating their advantage over the traditional route. According to ISACA, making use of new technology and key security improvements will change the way people look at mobile payment methods.

Appreciating the Benefits of Mobile Payment

The beauty of mobile payments is in the continuous improvement of technology for better security measures. Some of the newer benefits mobile wallet users can enjoy are the following:

Tokenization

Tokenization is replacing a customer's sensitive personal information with unique and random symbols. This way, they retain important data, like an account number, contact information, or email address without having to compromise security.

Device-Specific Cryptograms

On the other hand, device-specific cryptograms can be defined as a security measure to ensure that the payment came from the person's registered device. This means that even if a hacker was able to get the card information or transaction data, the cryptogram won't work on a different device and deem the transaction as a fraudulent one.

Two-Factor Authentication

Finally, two-factor authentication is adding a different layer to protect consumers beyond the usual password. This can be in the form of a physical credit card, a fingerprint, or facial recognition.

Recognizing the Risks and Knowing How to Address Them

Despite these technological advantages, some might still feel skeptical about these security features. Not to mention, there are some risks a normal person might have to face, especially if one does not know a lot about technology.

Here are some common mobile payment security risks consumers may have and a solution to resolve them.

Lost Mobile Devices

If a mobile phone gets lost or stolen, there is always a threat of losing all your personal data linked to the phone, even your credit or debit card, social media access, and payment apps. For many consumers, their life is linked to their phone

The easiest way to address this is to enable two-party authentication so that your device won't be unlocked right away. You can also make use of the Find My Phone feature in most smartphones so you can disable your phone from afar or catch the culprit.

Public Wi-Fi

Connecting to the internet through public Wi-Fi can be dangerous as you are vulnerable to hackers and hijackers. They might attempt fake connections and intercept data in transit.

First of all, you should never attempt bank transfers or online payments while you are linked to a public connection. Aside from this, using a virtual private network (VPN) will protect you by encrypting your device.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have been present before the internet age, but it has been made so much easier now. Usually, they take advantage of smartphone users through messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, or Facebook Messenger.

As an extra precaution, make sure that you review links and URLs before trying to access sites or make purchases. Also, do not download from unknown sources and never give off your credit card info to anyone.

Weak Passwords

The oldest form of hacking is through the use of weak and overused passwords. Cybercriminals use decryption tools that can even infiltrate even random character passwords. The best way to protect yourself from this problem is to never use the same password for everything and change your passwords every few months.

Human Error

Humans are prone to mistakes, which means that they will always be the top reason for security breaches. Many hackers thrive on a person making a mistake, so make sure to be extra vigilant, especially when dealing with your money on a mobile app.

There's no better way to stay safe than being careful and using your common sense against unknown email or message senders—especially when you use a mobile wallet. The best way to be safe is to only fund it when you are at home using your private Wi-Fi connection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get an official receipt?

Having access to an official receipt is dependent on the mobile wallet you use. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay generally don't have receipts, while other apps do. Most of the time, you can acquire the receipt from the merchant.

How fast is the mobile payment process?

Mobile payments are quite fast and transactions are usually complete within 10 to 20 seconds.

Conclusion

As a relatively new technology, it is fair for people to warm up to mobile payment options. As time passes by, however, the approach to security becomes stronger and ways to eliminate risks keep getting better. After all, comfort in using these solutions also come with the responsibility of managing your account and keeping away from mistakes.

For more information about mobile payments and other business solutions, keep exploring ProcessingCard.com.

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