With the present day society inching closer and closer to the cashless, cordless and wireless way of living with each passing day, there’s no way you could’ve missed the modern-day tech giants urging you to ‘pay your way’ or providing you ‘an easier way to pay’ in the recent times. Apple is one of them, and as usual, is leading the pack with a cutting-edge mobile payment option known as ‘Apple Pay.’
You can use Apple Pay on your iPhones, iPads and Apple smart watches. Comparatively a much newer digital wallet than the likes of Android Pay and others, it’s rapidly gaining a loyal fan following of its own. Many consider it a much safer option than others. However, is that really the case? Can you really use Apple Pay for your day to day needs without having to worry about the confidentiality of your financial details? First, let’s find out…
How Apple Pay works?
Once you sign up for the Apple Pay service, you’re required to input the necessary credit card, debit card and/or banking details into the phone. You may even be asked for more detailed information as a security check.
Now, whenever you wish to make a payment, you must input either your thumb print or a pre-decided code for validating the Apple Pay payment and then move your Apple device closer to the payment processor. Your phone will vibrate as soon as the payment goes through.
Security-wise, Apple assures that it doesn’t store any of your financial information on its servers. Furthermore, even the information that gets retained on your device, gets stored on a special ‘secure element’ that can’t be accessed very easily.
In addition, Apple employs a method known as tokenization for encrypting your financial information, to keep it from leaking on the Internet. In the event that you do lose your phone or device, you can easily wipe your financial details using certain methods.
As in case of all Internet security-related concerns, you must constantly guard yourself from certain human errors. If you do end up giving out any of your confidential Apple Pay info to a third party, there’s nothing Apple or any security measure can do to save you from a potential financial loss.
Physical theft of a phone or device is another huge concern among the mobile payment users. However, in case of Apple Pay, it isn’t as big a concern as it is with other popular mobile payment options. Nevertheless, if you don’t take proper security measures to protect your data, even a semiskilled hacker can read your financial details or hack into your accounts.
Regardless of what Apple or other mobile payment processing companies may say, hackers are constantly trying to beat the system and succeeding on many occasions too.
You must also guard yourself from any possibility of breach happening to your account/s linked to Apple Pay. Or any of those accounts finding a way to access financial info used by Apple Pay. Hackers are very clever and know how to take different routes to such critical data. They don’t mind using certain accounts for gaining access to the others and so on.
You must ensure that all your verification methods and passwords are highly secure, even when it’s about the seemingly unimportant accounts. Avoid using public networks at all cost, until you have all the protective measures in place.
More precautions you can take
The safety of any digital wallet, including Apple Pay depends heavily on the security habits you develop over a period of time and the precautions you take.
It’s highly recommended to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service for your iPhone that’ll connect your device to an off-site server using a highly-encrypted connection. Doing so will protect your critical data whenever it’s transferred over a public network. Even though Apple Pay has its own security standards, you never know when the cyber criminals find their way in. Such VPN service will also protect your critical account details that may leak in the event of the breach of your Apple account. Some of the VPN services recommended for this purpose are HideMyAss, TotalVPN, Spotflux Premium VPN, Express VPN, IP Vanish and more.
As a general precaution, keep a constant eye on your finances and carry out a brief review of your financial accounts every week, regardless of whether you’re using a digital wallet or not. Subscribing to alerts from your bank/s and Apple may also be a good idea.
The negative consequences of physical phone theft in particular can be avoided by adopting the strongest verification measures such as 6-digit pin numbers and fingerprint verification. Whatever you do, ensure that ‘1111’ isn’t the only go to option for you.
Please note that you may not come to know about your stolen phone immediately, and if a criminal does find his/her way into your phone, it’s not just the Apple Pay data, but a lot more info that may get compromised.
So, is Apple Pay really safe to use?
Yes, Apple Pay is safe to use indeed. But you can make it safer by adopting certain measures. On the other hand, if you’re highly concerned about your financial and identity details, there’s nothing that beats carrying some cash in your wallet!
What more, there’s no way of finding the kind of tools that hackers and/or vendors may use for accessing your confidential data. So, all you can do is stay cautious and use Apple play only at places where you feel it’s safe to use.
Apple emphasizes that using Apple Pay is any day safer than using the physical credit/debit cards. That’s because every payment gets authenticated via biometric sensors (the heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch or the iPhone’s touch ID). These measures can prevent any criminal who steals your phone from simply going on a swiping and spending spree. But, how do these measures matter to a hacker who has already obtained your credit/debit card details and has used them for creating an Apple Pay account of his/her own, on his/her own device?
Based on certain redundancies and the level of encryption built into its system, Apple Pay can also be compared to PayPal when it comes to security. Only you know the extent of risk you’re willing to take and what type of transactions you’re most comfortable with.
Having said all that, Apple Pay is undeniably a very interesting technology that has plenty of room for growth, especially in the security aspect. All we can hope for is to see it evolve in the future, turning into the most secure and efficient mobile payment option of all.