You love to shop until you drop, am I right? If I’m wrong, well, just pretend you do. Let’s say you’re tired of carrying around that huge, heavy purse of yours. I mean, you still need the strength to carry around all of those shopping bags!
You’ve recently discovered there is a way to pay for all of your purchases without using a wallet; your smart phone! Thank the high Heavens for that, am I right? You no longer need to carry around your purse or wallet; just your phone! How much better can life get? Let me stop you there and ask: Have you ever stopped and wondered how safe mobile payments are? We put so much trust into these little screens with our credit card information. You never actually stop to wonder how safe it really is.
We have hackers who hack into our personal computers every day. What’s so different about a smart phone? They would just need to break through a small firewall and steal every bit of information you have! Let’s admit it; we have just about all of our information on our smart phones. Let’s use Google Play as an example. You have a game you’re absolutely addicted to, and you can’t help but to spend money on it! Your credit card information is already saved to Google; all you need to do is type in your password. Think about it. Are mobile payments really as safe as they make them to be? Read on, my friends.
PAPER AND PLASTIC IS SO YESTERDAY
In all of the countries combined, the United States carries more than half of the credit card frauds! Credit card frauds are no joke! I’m sure each and every one of you has had some sort of credit card fraud happen to you at least once! I know I have.
Get this. It was recorded back in 2012 that $500 million was spent through mobile wallet apps! That’s more than you thought, am I right? It’s already been predicted that by 2017, that sum will boost up to $35 billion! How do you feel about that? That’s how much trust we put into our mobile devices.
There’s an app called Venmo that was recently started up from PayPal. You’re able to send money to your friends and family via email, just like most wallet apps. It was recently confirmed that Venmo processes hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions each month, and that Venmo recently had to apologize to customers because they were complaining about nothing being done about fraudulent activity. It’s been said that Venmo can take about two full days to get back to their customers who are complaining about fraud. That might not be so bad, except they have a strict policy that costumers only have 48 hours to file a complaint about fraud before they lose their liability protection. How crazy is that?
HOW VULNERABLE IS YOUR CELL PHONE?
There are some things you should probably take into account. I know we’re talking about mobile payments here, but let’s take a break and talk about the actual phone. How vulnerable are you to fraud? Say you’re waiting for a flight to Las Angeles; and you’re waiting patiently. You get hungry after hours of waiting, so you decide to get a snack. There’s a store directly across from where you were sitting, so you leave all of your belongings. You’ll only take a second, right? Someone runs up to grab your phone; and they take off. There you go; this complete stranger now has access to all the information in your phone.
Let’s say this doesn’t happen. You’re still sitting down in your chair at the airport, and you’re enjoying the free WiFi. You’re using a public network that most likely has no firewall protection. It’ll be super easy for hackers to catch all the information in your phone, simply by hacking in through the same network. Now, every password or username and email that’s being typed; they’re recording it. Boom, they have access to all your personal information, credit cards included.
Another example would be that you use all these different wallet apps, and you play all these different games you pay for. They’re all made from different companies with different types of software. You’re basically setting yourself up for fraud since each of these apps can have their own potential vulnerabilities! Just remember how vulnerable your cell phone is, and be extra careful with your information.
ARE YOU KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR BANK TRANSACTIONS?
My advice to you would be to keep track of your transactions. My mother has taught me to check my bank account every day. She checks hers at least three or four times throughout her day. I know what you’re thinking; she’s a little crazy. I usually think the same thing; however, she’s usually right on top of fraud the second it happens. You can never be too careful. Most banks actually have their own apps, so it would only take seconds to check your balance and make sure everything is right where you left it. I recommend only checking your bank when you’re either at home, or through your data. I never check my bank account while I’m connected to someone else’s WiFi that isn’t my own, and neither should you. Mobile Data is extremely safe, so you’re able to put all of your trust into it, especially main carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. You never hear about mobile data being hacked, but you hear about public WiFi hacking users on a daily basis. So really, the main thing you really need to worry about while making mobile payments is the network you’re on.
YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO SAFE WITH MONEY
There are quite a few steps you can take when making mobile payments. You already know some of them; like using a trustworthy network and watching your bank statements. Let’s talk about a few other steps you should take to avoid fraud.
Try sticking with the popular sites and apps! Would you trust shopping on a website called “safepaymentshopping.com”? Um, I would hope not; but you probably trust the main sites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay and PayPal? Yes, of course you trust them! Maybe not always what’s being sold; but you trust them with your online wallet, right?
Here’s another tip; try reading reviews and ratings before downloading a new app. There are usually great reviews being written each and every day! If that app only has two and a half stars, look into why the ratings are so low. If everyone is saying they’ve been scammed and had their money stolen; don’t download the app. I feel like not many people actually think about searching reviews for tips on scammers. They just look at the app description and download! When it comes to your wallet, you should always be as cautious as you can.
So, to answer our original question; mobile payments are safe; only to an extent. If you’re cautious and use your head to make smart choices, then you won’t have to worry too much about how safe your mobile payments really are.