Think Before You Click – Online & Mobile Payments
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. Another common scam deals with online marketplace purchases when a seller will claim to want an item you’re selling. They may offer to overpay for the item and even create a fake confirmation notice; in reality, they have never sent the payment.
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.The first time you need to electronically send money to someone, ask them to send you a direct request or use the scan-to-pay feature on their phone. This prevents 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 someone steals your phone and you saved account information on it, 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.
About the Author: Alex Cummings is the Information Security Awareness Program Manager for SouthState, overseeing information security training and communication. He’s been with the bank for 5 years. He studied computer information systems at the University of South Carolina, where he started the Cyber Security Club and was recognized in several regional and national competitions.