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Are your mobile payments safe?

Online deals become more and more popular now. There are almost 5 billion mobile device owners and a lot of them use virtual money. According to Deloitte, 31% of people from 18 to 24 years old use mobile payments frequently. It rises to 36% for the group from 25 to 34 years old, meaning that more than 2/3 of young population are familiar with online transactions!

That’s impressive. But still a lot of people do not make wireless and virtual payments because they simply don’t trust these new technologies. Let’s reveal how secure mobile payments are and how we can protect ourselves, especially, when it comes to huge amounts of money.

What are mobile payments at all?

Long story short, mobile payments are transactions performed with a smartphone or, rarely, tablet. Forget about cash, it’s all about virtual money. Modern mobile payments are divided into two huge groups.

Variety of deals

  1. Payments with NFC. You know about Apple Pay and Google Pay. These services allow users to pay with their phones in shops, cinemas, etc. It’s enough to bring a phone to a specific terminal and confirm a transaction. This technology is called Near Field Communication or NFC, and it’s the topic for another big article.
  2. Virtual transactions. Another option to pay via a mobile phone is related to the Internet. Here you shouldn’t even look for terminals. Just install an app or e-wallet, open a desired site and pay for goods or services from the virtual page. Funds will be transferred from you to the seller’s profile or account. We will be covering only this group further on.

Variety of implementation

Apart from technologies, there are also different options for using mobile payments in real life:

  • Shopping;
  • Ordering food;
  • Booking tickets and accommodation;
  • Buying apps and digital goods;
  • Paying for utilities;
  • Money transfers;

Virtual mobile deals are really convenient but they aren’t as safe as payments with real physical money. That’s why it’s extremely important to know about threats and possible vulnerabilities to protect your funds. Big money leads to big risks. So, the security of mobile transactions is even more vital for investors, traders, and gamers.

How to protect your transactions?

To pay for something you can use your bank account, debit/credit card, e-wallet like PayPal or even your phone account. Some websites use their own accounts and e-wallets, meaning that you should transfer your funds to this system and then pay for goods or services from within it. Most probably, hackers will try to steal your sensitive data at the moment of transaction.

That’s why the safest option is to use your phone account as you don’t reveal any card numbers or personal info; or, an e-wallet with which you provide only encrypted data.

Regardless of money source, there are some crucial rules which can help you to protect your funds and mobile payments:

  • Install only verified apps. E-wallets and apps should be checked by iTunes or Google Store. Download apps only from trusted sources.
  • Update apps frequently. Hackers implement new algorithms, so do security departments when developing innovative solutions. Keep your apps updated to protect your funds from actual threats.
  • Be sure that transactions are secured. A username and a password are obligatory here. But it’s better to authenticate data with a fingerprint scan or one-time code.
  • Connect to protected networks. Don’t even think of inputting private data via public Wi-Fi. Better use a cellular network or a secured home system.
  • Check your account and reports. It is easier to reveal threats when you detect unusual activity. Explore transfers, requests, settings. Also, change passwords regularly.

How to choose reliable sites in different spheres?

Remember our list of implementations? Each option there is intended for a certain merchant, either human or machine. But there are common basics when checking the websites you are going to use for mobile payments. You should:

  • Check certificates. The minimum required safety protocol is Secure Sockets Layer or SSL which uses encryption, cryptography and authentication codes. There are various online platforms where you can check SSL for any site. Also, pay attention to URL: sites with SSL have «https» in the beginning.
  • Check licenses. We strongly advise dealing with verified and licensed sites. Traders must be licensed by the WTO or ISO, for example. Reliable money transfers are conducted through huge systems like Western Union. Thus, explore websites to find a section with certificates or other documents.
  • Check credentials. Finally, read reviews and complaints. People care of their money and write angry comments after losing it. If you feel that something is unclear with a given e-commerce website or online casino, proceed to another one. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, each sphere where mobile payments are carried out has extra rules and cautions.

Online purchases

When you order goods, be sure to protect transactions with one-time passwords or two-factor authentication through your smartphone.

Ask about guarantees. You should be able to receive a refund like users of Amazon do.

Mobile gambling

Gambling sites require even more attention. It’s necessary to transfer money in advance to start playing, that’s called a deposit. Try to find casinos with minimum requirements, so you will not lose a lot.

Also, each time you want to pass the time playing exciting games at iPhone casinos, be sure to check the appropriate licenses beforehand. They are available on portals of the UK Gambling Commission or Malta Gaming Authority.

Currently, the main challenge for all websites that support mobile payments is striking the balance between security and simplicity. People want to get their goods or services and keep their money safe without additional procedures. It’s pretty difficult but still achievable, and whether we will face a new era of mobile payments soon remains to be seen.

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