Due to the many conveniences they offer, online and mobile payment services have become increasingly popular over the years. While there are many benefits to using such services, it’s important to be aware of how you can protect yourself. The tips below from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will help you ensure you are conducting mobile payment transactions in a secure manner.
Use caution when conducting a transaction with someone you don’t know.
Be aware of scams that could occur if you are sending money to someone you do not know. These scams could include someone offering you tickets to an event but never actually giving you the tickets after you pay for them. A scammer could also send you money for an item they are buying from you, only to cancel the payment before it is transferred to your bank account. The CFPB advises consumers to only use payment services when conducting transactions with family, friends or someone you trust.
Ask your friend to send you a request.
If you’ve never sent money to a friend via a payment service, consider asking your friend to send you a request for the money. This would prevent you from sending money to the wrong person. Alternatively, if your friend is unable to send a request, consider sending a small amount of money prior to the full amount to ensure the funds are reaching the correct user’s account. After you send money to friends using an online or mobile payment service, reach out to them to verify that they received the funds.
Think before you press send.
Did you know humans make approximately seven errors per hour? It’s easy to inadvertently type an incorrect character or number in a phone number, username, email address or monetary amount. Be sure to think before you press “send” and carefully review each detail of your transaction.
Be aware of the transfer details for each app.
Make sure you have reviewed the details regarding how quickly you’ll receive money, how quickly you can transfer a payment to your bank account and how soon money will be deducted from your account after you make a payment using a payment service. Does your app require you to pay a fee to transfer the money to your bank account? Are there any recall or retrieval features you can leverage if you make an error in your payment? Familiarizing yourself with these details prior to using the app will ensure a smoother experience with fewer surprises.
Require a passcode, PIN or fingerprint on your phone and within your app.
Best practice is to install a passcode, PIN or fingerprint to access any information on your phone. Additionally, using one of these methods to authenticate yourself within the app will help prevent anyone else from using the app if your phone is lost or stolen. If your phone is stolen and any account information is saved on your phone, you should still notify your financial institution in addition to visiting the digital payment website and removing your card information.
Make it your goal to follow information security best practices when making payments, and you can enjoy the many conveniences provided by these services.