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Secure Payments Over Mobile Phones

Nena Vuckovic
Mobile Payment

Smartphones have become part of our everyday lives, and it seems almost impossible to live without them. Many companies are shifting their focus and creating new ways you can use your phone. Secure payments are one of the most popular uses of both iOS and Android phones. You can shop online, pay your bills, and make other types of payments.

Paying over your phone seems rather convenient, but are there any downsides to it? How do these programs work? What is it and how secure is a contactless payment? How can you improve the security of transactions? Here, we will go through all the details about the new age of smartphone payment apps.

Is It Safe? What’s Wrong With Credit Cards?

Many people across the world are starting to see cash as obsolete, and credit cards have been around for quite a while. Using them is easier, simpler, and safer since you don’t need to carry all that money with you. We accepted credit and debit cards years ago, and not many people doubt the security of card transactions. The reason for this is clear. Over the years, the only issues that have happened are related to users and how they handle their private information (or whether they have lost their cards).

Apple Pay was one of the first systems designed to make our lives easier, and other companies soon followed their example. Since you already carry your phone everywhere, why not use it as a payment method? While many people enjoy the benefits of using mobile wallets, others are still skeptical and see it as unsafe. So how safe is mobile payment?

If you take a look at services such as Apple Pay, the reality is different than what the majority believes. These are, in fact, more secure than your regular plastic card. Payment cards have a magnetic stripe, and stealing info from them can be quite easy. All criminals have to do is to add a skimmer to a card reader, and you’ll be out of money in no time. Naturally, banks and card issuers are fighting this by adding a security chip, but that’s not something that’s available everywhere.

Online shopping is even more dangerous without 2FA since it uses a card number and three digits on the back. You don’t even have to have the actual card to spend the money.

Potential Risks

With credit cards, the main problem is someone stealing your info and using it for fraudulent actions. All they need to do is copy the numbers and use them as they please (not everyone utilizes two-factor authentication). While using a mobile device to pay your bills is easy and practical, there are still a couple of potential risks you need to consider.

The first and most obvious problem is losing your phone. While you won’t necessarily lose your card details, the person finding or stealing your phone will be able to access your bank accounts and payment apps in no time. Due to this problem, almost every phone has built-in protection. To keep your data secure, you can always combine a PIN code with any biometric method like facial recognition, fingerprint, or iris scan.

Of course, the issue is that many people find fingerprint or other biometric scans problematic due to privacy concerns. Apple, for example, uses Apple’s Touch ID, which creates a mathematical model instead of storing your actual fingerprint. The biometric identifier is usually stored on the device itself instead of some huge database, which means that even if there is a breach in the company’s security, your data will remain safe.

The next major problem is “spoofing.” If you are using a public network to add cards to a mobile wallet, cybercriminals can use this opportunity to steal your data. They’ll recreate the entire network, which you will use to enter your data. To avoid this, always add cards while at home, using your own password-protected connection.

Finally, malware can be a tool as well. Cybercriminals will use it to control your device remotely and steal your info. To avoid this, you should refrain from clicking on unsafe links, ads, or downloading unverified software.

iOS Solution — What Makes Apple Pay Secure?

So what makes Apple Pay better than cash or credit cards? The most important thing is that you will use your credit card info only once when you add the payment method to the app. Once that’s done, you won’t need to re-enter it to use Apple Pay. Instead, the app will create an encrypted token that will serve as your temporary card number. This token is not directly connected to your account, which means that no one will be able to access your info even if they breach the store.

Furthermore, the token is not universal, and it can be used for a single transaction only. As a result, someone “owning” the token will only get the code for a completed transaction, and they won’t be able to use it for anything else.

The most appealing aspect of this secure payment technology is the fact that it’s a lot faster. It takes a single second to complete the transaction using this mobile app, while credit cards can take much longer. Even though the time difference seems insignificant, it might just be the thing you need after standing in line for half an hour.

Android Apps and the Future of Secure Payments

After Apple Pay tested the market, other companies followed the lead. Today, you can find an app for any type of smartphone, and each company has its own version of secure payment apps. This means that you can use mobile payment regardless if you own an Android, iOS, or any other type of smartphone.

Cryptocurrencies and Mobile Apps

No one could predict the impact Bitcoin would have globally when it first appeared in 2009. Today, a bit over a decade later, people are starting to understand the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

You have probably heard a lot about Bitcoin, but it is still just one of the possibilities that blockchain has to offer. More and more users are looking for a way into the whole crypto world, and they want easy solutions that will allow them to become a part of it.

Since cryptocurrencies can offer a variety of benefits compared to fiat currency, people are constantly looking for new ways to implement Bitcoin and other altcoins into their lives. However, not every mobile payment app supports cryptocurrencies, and you will need to find a different secure payment method if you want to use them on your smartphone.

To avoid having to switch between numerous apps, you can always try using programs such as CASI. It will allow you to manage and generate BTC and ETH wallets, and it is as secure as it gets. None of your private info, such as phone, ID, KYC/AML, and others, is stored. One of the most exciting things about it is that CASI will allow you to customize your wallet and add options like 2FA, QR code scanner, and so much more.

Moreover, if you are looking for something that offers more options for people looking to launch their own cryptocurrency, APEGO supports all ERC-20 tokens, and you can always request other tokens to be integrated with the app.

What Is a Crypto Wallet? What Can It Offer?

Regardless of the type of currency you own, you will probably want to keep it safe. Crypto wallets are rather similar to regular ones, and they allow you to easily manage your transactions and keep track of them. These wallets are software (or even hardware) that work on different blockchain networks. This means that they have similar properties to any other blockchain.

The most important ones are security, transparency, and decentralization. Using a wallet offers you a chance to make the entire process significantly easier and avoid losing money with each transaction/conversion. It is also the simplest way to keep track of your balance.

There are two main types of crypto wallets — software and hardware ones. The software ones are also known as hot wallets. You can use them on your desktop, smartphone, and online (web-based). They are connected to the internet, which makes it easier for you to manage your funds.

The second type is a piece of hardware, and they are also called cold wallets. You get a handy little device that will keep your currencies safe. Unlike software-based wallets, these aren’t connected to the internet, which makes them impossible to hack, unless someone can physically access them.

Hardware wallets are more expensive, but they are a great option if you have a higher balance. This way, you can keep most of it in the cold wallet, and only use the hot one when you need to pay for something.

Many Uses of Blockchain

More and more people are beginning to realize the potential of blockchain technology. The options are almost limitless, and we’ll just scratch the surface. While many people associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies, there are so many other uses that developers are exploring.

Blockchain is revolutionizing the way we do business, and many companies are looking to hop on the blockchain train before it’s too late. This is the opportunity that you wouldn’t want to miss. 

This technology is based on a growing list of records that are connected using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, transaction data, timestamp, and so on. The main benefit of a blockchain is that it’s resistant to any type of data modification. That’s why developers have been discovering different ways to use blockchain and the benefits of its application.

Experts predict that blockchain will find use in many areas like data sharing, copyright, digital voting, real-estate, food industry, tax regulation, and so on. Whatever the future may hold, it seems that blockchain is here to stay, and it will keep gaining popularity in the next couple of years.

Of course, the main use of blockchain today is in money transfers and payment processing, which is why getting a crypto wallet might be a good idea.

Why Crypto Wallets?

Now that we’ve gone through some of the basics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, you might have started to notice the benefits of owning a crypto wallet. Since no one can tamper with the data in the ledger, cryptocurrency offers even more security on top of what we already have.

Moreover, there are so many crypto wallets that work on smartphones as well. This allows you to combine all of the protection methods that are already integrated into your device (fingerprint, iris scanner, etc.) with the security that blockchain offers.

While it might seem unnecessary to some, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Keeping your finances safe should be your number one priority, and this might be the best method at your disposal — at least at the moment. Who knows what the future holds, but we can be sure that there will be even more improvements in the crypto world.

As technology improves, so do security methods, and you need to keep up with trends. This applies to both individual users and companies, and soon, everyone will fight for their place in the market.

Other Ways to Make Mobile Payments More Secure

There are a couple of more ways to increase the security of your mobile transactions, aside from using a crypto wallet. Firstly, you should always stick to the newest versions of software and ensure that the platform is trustworthy. We have already mentioned public Wi-Fi, and how you should avoid it. However, if you are in a situation where you absolutely have to use it, turn on a virtual private network or VPN.

Any vendor or app that isn’t trustworthy is a potential risk. So try learning more about the developers, their apps, previous experiences, and anything that may help you decide whether you should try their product. Social media is always a good place to start since you can check out many comments and see what real users have to say.

Furthermore, the number of downloads is always a good indicator of the app’s popularity. It shows you how many people are using the app as well as its average rating. One of the trickiest things that people often forget about is permissions. For example, messaging apps will need access to your contacts, but there is no need for access to your camera, so be careful what you accept while installing the app.

Finally, always use as much protection as you can. This includes any built-in protection features we have mentioned as well as strong passwords. Ideally, you want to have a different password for each website and app you use, and you should avoid using something simple that’s easy to remember. Moreover, writing sensitive info on a piece of paper is always a bad idea, and it’s not something you should ever do.

Summary

Many people predict that smartphones are the future, and it’s obvious why users are turning to them for making payments. They are easy to use, convenient, and they make our lives simpler. However, no one could have predicted that smartphones might become more popular than credit cards. Today, you can use your phone to pay for nearly anything, and more people are using payment apps by the day.

All you need to do is install Apple Pay or Android Pay, depending on your device, and you’ll get a whole new world of possibilities. But are these apps secure? Is it safe to use them? It turns out that using mobile payment apps might be even safer than credit or debit cards. The reason is simple — they offer several layers of protection that improve the security of each transaction.

Aside from built-in security features, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, each app has its own security measures on top of it. This only improves the safety of each transaction further. Moreover, you can also use some of the crypto wallets that utilize strong cryptography that can’t be tampered with to keep your cryptocurrencies safe. The best thing is that this type of software is available for iOS, Android, and Windows.

All you need to do is install it on your device and forget about cash and cards. The only thing you need to ensure is that you stick to verified users and avoid potential cyber-attacks. While it might sound scary, being careful is usually more than enough to avoid any problems

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