Mobile wallets and their safety

We live in an age when everything is moving from the physical world to digital. Nowadays you could do a lot of things online that a couple years ago would require you to do something like go somewhere or call someone. You can do grocery shopping or book the hotel without leaving the house. Everything you would want you can have with just a small device – your smartphone.

If you think about it, your phone contains a lot of information about you. It has access to your social media profiles, messages, documents, and photos. Even those who have strong passwords probably have them remembered on their phones to ease the access for the owner. Add to this more sensitive information like banking details, and your phone becomes the most valuable thing not only for you but also for hackers.

So why then people are using online banking and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Android Pay? Are they actually safe? The answer is simple – it depends. The smartphone can be an invitation for a hacker or be a device that no one except for the owner can access. It all comes down to precautions that have been done to secure the phone. If it is protected correctly, then the mobile wallet is even safer than plastic cards.

Mobile wallet safety measures

Mobile wallets often offer increased security and allow users to set up two-factor authentication (2FA), that makes the access more complex. On the other hand, plastic cards have magnetic stripes, that contain information and can be easily read by magnetic scanners. Because the phone doesn’t include such parts and the transfer of information is encrypted, the device is harder to access. But if someone would be able to draw information they won’t make much sense of sequences of random numbers and letters. What’s more, to open the mobile wallet you would be required to enter the PIN or use your face or fingerprint or the combination of those three options, that makes them even more protected.

Accordingly to Worldpay’s Global Payment Report, mobile wallet payments accounted for 15,9% in 2018. It seems to be a low number, however, it is estimated that the mobile wallet share would go up to 27,9% by 2022 surpassing cash and credit card payments. Nowadays a lot of people don’t trust online payments that much let alone mobile wallets and try to stick with traditional methods like cash or cards. But as more stores are adopting different payment options and mobile wallets are becoming simpler and safer to use, more and more people will move towards a cashless way of paying.

However, don’t rush to move all your credit and debit cards to a mobile wallet. Although mobile wallets are secured and more convenient to use, life happens. Your phone might run out of battery or the store might not accept mobile payments yet. In those cases, you would like to have at least one plastic card or some cash on hand. In addition to that, network coverage can be not available to you in some part of the country, especially near the border. So it might be harder to complete the transaction there.

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