By Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief, ReHack.com
Accepting mobile payments can be highly beneficial for businesses. The transaction time is much faster than traditional payment methods, cutting out the need to count exact change or wait for cards to process, which takes around 12 seconds compared to one second for mobile pay. Also, since it’s not tied to any physical location, employees can check customers out anywhere in the store, improving the overall experience.
Despite these benefits, many business owners wonder about the safety issues surrounding this technology. Each year, hackers get better and better at what they do, and they’ve created some innovative solutions for their craft.
However, most mobile wallet apps are incredibly safe to use with well-rounded security features. Mobile payments remain secure for business owners and their customers as long as they take the proper precautions.
Mobile Pay Safety Features
Mobile pay apps have two primary features that protect businesses’ and customers’ information from hackers.
Mobile wallets only require the entry of card and bank information one time. After the initial setup, the app creates a token number for each transaction instead of the real card number. The token is only good for one transaction and then changes, so even if a hacker gets a hold of it, they wouldn’t be able to use that token to make future purchases or transfer funds.
- Biometric Safety Features
As an added security measure, mobile pay apps can use phones’ built-in safety features to require further authentication before transferring or receiving funds. For example, with Apple Pay, customers must double-click the side button to start a transaction.
Next, users on both ends can complete the transaction with a form of two-factor authentication such as a password or biometric features like face or fingerprint scans. Using fingerprint or face scanning in addition to the encrypted token technology makes it incredibly difficult for cybercriminals to access business and personal details.
Considerations for Safety
Even with the high-tech solutions designed to protect personal and business information, users still need to take precautions to protect themselves. Business owners should follow these recommendations and encourage their customers to do the same.
- Update POS Devices Frequently
This technology is still advancing and adapting to block out users with ill intent. As with any other device, it’s crucial to keep point-of-sale (POS) terminals current. Outdated technology and old versions of apps are tempting targets for cybercriminals.
Businesses should regularly check for updates to their software and hardware. Also, most POS terminals are relatively inexpensive and could be replaced when more secure versions become available.
- Use Trusted Apps
Business owners and customers should only use trusted mobile pay apps from reputable brands like Apple, Google, and Samsung. They also need to be wary of other apps, websites, and platforms they use on the same device.
- Avoid Transactions Over Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is acceptable for recreational use. However, it should never be used for any type of banking, including mobile transactions. Businesses that offer free Wi-Fi to their customers should have separate, private internet access for mobile pay. Otherwise, hackers can access the public connection and view everything. Customers should also be reminded to use a VPN (virtual private network) for IP-address anonymity.
Since mobile pay apps use encrypted tokens rather than real card numbers, most transactions should be safe, but users should be extra cautious, especially when adding new card information.
- Watch Account Activity
Businesses should keep a consistent watch on their account activity and their customers should do the same. Even though it’s rare, hackers and scammers can sometimes get access to bank and personal information. Watching accounts closely will alert users to any suspicious activity.
Safer Than Traditional Payment Methods
With proper use, mobile pay apps are much safer than cash or cards. It’s far too easy for hackers to place skimmers on card reading devices to steal countless numbers before they’re caught. Also, cash is cumbersome and an easy target for theft.
Mobile pay is touchless, so skimmers can’t read the card – and even if they could, they’d get an unusable encrypted token rather than the real number. Biometric authentication integration also makes mobile apps the most secure method for both businesses and customers and a great choice for staying relevant in the current economy and trends.
Devin Partida is an industrial tech writer and the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com, a digital magazine for all things technology, big data, cryptocurrency, and more. To read more from Devin, please check out the site.