It’s becoming more and more popular to use a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet to make purchases at a store, restaurant, flea market, or just about anywhere. While this can make paying for goods or services a snap, you should always remember that with ease comes a need for vigilance. Mobile wallet payments can be as safe as other types of transactions, but you need to take a few key steps before diving into this new type of purchasing.
Only Use Trusted Apps
If you want to make mobile payments and need an app to do so, be very careful where you download this little software tool. Trusted sources like Apple or Google have processes in place for vetting apps; other sites may not. In fact, these other sites could just be scams aimed at getting you to download malicious spyware or viruses onto your device.
Lock Your Devices
If your mobile device should ever get lost or stolen, you certainly don’t want the next person to end up with your phone to have free reign to send money from your accounts to theirs. While it’s always a good idea to use a password for your mobile devices, it’s absolutely 100% necessary if you’re going to be making mobile payments. If your mobile device supports it, you can even use fingerprint identification for greater security.
Get Further Protection
In the early days of mobile money, the common opinion was that there wasn’t as much of a need for mobile security software because identity thieves weren’t targeting handheld devices as much as laptop and desktop computers. That has all changed in the past few years. Thieves follow the money, and with so much of it flowing through phones and tablets, you now definitely need a security app if you are going to be making transactions through these devices. Research apps specifically designed to secure your particular make and model of the device.
Be Internet Smart
If a particular mobile payment involves sending money via a webpage, always check to make sure the site’s web address starts with “https” instead of “http.” This lets you know that the information you are sending is secure. Additionally, you should never use a public Wi-Fi network to make a mobile payment, since this can put your data at risk of being pilfered. Use your own wireless network instead.
Even though the actual money changing hands in mobile transactions can seem like it exists in a magical land of digital fairies, it’s actually coming from good old-fashioned checking or credit card accounts. If someone has weaseled their way into your mobile payment system, any missing money will become apparent after checking your online account statements. Rather than waiting to check your accounts when you receive your monthly statement, set a specific day each week to make a little pop-in visit.
You may have the sense that mobile transactions make your information more vulnerable, but in fact, they can be even safer than carrying cash or debit or credit cards. This is only true, though, if you take the necessary steps to secure your transactions.