Mobile Payment Apps Offer Convenience and Security

Robert BuheckerCybersecurity and VulnerabilitiesLeave a Comment

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Target, Taco Bell, and Speedway Add Apple Pay as an Acceptable Payment App


Apple Pay has been steadily gaining popularity since its creation in 2014 and is now going to be available in Target, Taco Bell, and Speedway convenience stores. states that Apple Pay is supported in 65% of all retail locations across the country. These participating locations range from food companies like McDonald’s to hardware stores, to clothing stores like GAP.

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While the Millennial generation was among the first group to commit to mobile payments, the service is available to anyone with a corresponding device. For Apple users, anyone with an iPhone 6 or higher as well as an Apple Watch has the ability to pay using the app. The main reason people tend to use a wallet app is convenience. A payment app doesn’t require a physical plastic debit or credit card, only a quick identity affirmation on your mobile device.


How Does a Payment App Work?


What makes mobile payment a contactless transaction is the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. This is a chip that is installed in your phone a well as at the registers in businesses. The chip operates as a part of a wireless connection, allowing small amounts of data to be shared between the chips. This does not require an internet connection of any kind and only works when the chips are mere centimeters away from each other. That’s what is meant by “contactless payment,” the phone and card reader at the register never make physical contact. This makes paying as easy as one touch to the home button of your phone.

To sign up for Apple Pay, you must choose either a credit or debit card to add as the main card on your account. Many payment apps allow you to add gift cards from participating businesses to your virtual wallet as well. When you go to pay for a product in a retail store, you simply hold your phone above the chip reader. Your phone will automatically open the Apple Pay app and it will ask for a touch ID verification. After you place your finger on the home button, the purchase will be approved. In some cases, you may even use face recognition to verify a purchase, which ensures that no one else can use your account.

The payment apps can also be used between friends and family to send and receive money in a text message. If both you and another person have Apple Pay or another payment app such as Venmo, you can click on the icon and choose the amount you want to send to another person.


How Many Payment Apps Are Out There?


There are many types of mobile payment options with the most common being Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal. Each mobile device also has its own form of pay whether it be Apple, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay.

Google Pay operates much the same as Apple Pay and can be used in stores, for online shopping for in-app purchases, and to transfer money among anyone else with Google Pay. PayPal was one of the first mobile and online payment options beginning in 1998. It offers the ability to transfer money from a bank account to a PayPal account and vice versa as well as send money to and receive money from family and friends. It started as the premier online payment service to use with eBay, but has since grown to be a leader in online payments.

Venmo is actually owned by PayPal but has a much more social aspect. It is a mobile app designed solely to send money to family and friends. If you have a linked bank account with Venmo, you can use your debit card to pay someone else with the app. They will receive a text about the amount they were sent and must register themselves to access the funds.


Security Benefits to Using Payment Apps


Aside from the convenience of a “one-click” transaction, using these apps lessens the chance that the information on your credit or debit card will be stolen in spyware or malware situations. These payment apps scramble your information when a transaction is being made, making it much more difficult for an unwanted party to steal and use your card information. In the case of Apple and Google Pay, when you make an in-store purchase, the apps don’t give the store your actual card number. Instead, they give an encrypted number unique to that purchase.

Of course, each transaction using those specific apps requires a touch or face ID, further protecting your purchases. Though there is a slight chance that a thief looking to absorb data from the NFC chip could do so, they would have to be centimeters away from the device, much like when you make the actual purchase. In the case that your phone is lost or stolen, by using the Find My Phone app, you can remove your device from the payment method or lock it. Overall, these apps offer a way to create an account as a sort of wall between your banking information and a retail store or potential hacker.


How Secure Forensics Can Help


Even if you take every precautionary measure to protect your personal banking information, there is always a chance for a data breach. With mobile payment methods becoming more popular than physical cash, it is not a matter of if you will have a data breach, it is a matter of when. Secure Forensics offers an assessment on your device to find out who found your information, what they were able to access, and can mitigate any damage that may have occurred during the breach. Call Secure Forensics at 1-800-288-1407 to start your investigation today.