According to Money Crashers, 90 million Americans use payment apps. But its new survey reveals 52% of the respondents are not concerned about payment app security. This translates to millions of people not taking the necessary precautions to protect their transactions and personal data.
What this means for small business owners is they have to take more precautions to protect their payment processing platform. Because hackers can use the compromised account of a customer to get information about a business.
Money Crashers Payment App Security Survey
The case Amanda Pell highlights in the report is quite revealing. The data comes from Venmo’s reported $40 million loss in fraud reimbursements during the first quarter of 2018. In analyzing the security issues of Venmo, Hang Do Thi Duc, a coder and privacy researcher, explains what you can learn just from the personal information people share on the app.
Details such as text and time stamps of transactions people make is all it takes. With this information, a hacker/scammer can examine the transactions of a single food cart vendor. To show what could be done, Do Thi Duc was able to identify the vendor’s most frequent patrons, how often they made purchases, and at what time of day they could be expected to visit.
Pell goes on to say, “Depending on the context, this information can expose users to everything from marketing schemes to theft, assault, and blackmail.” If you stay on top of your payment app security protocol, you can greatly decrease and/or eliminate these threats.
In the survey, 20% of the respondents say they have security concerns, but it doesn’t prevent them from continuing to use the apps. However, almost a third (31%) have enough concerns to make them stop from downloading a payment app. Another 43% say they haven’t decided against downloading and 26% have never considered using a payment app.
- What information the app is collecting
- Whether your information will be used for secondary purposes (such as marketing)
- Whether your information will be shared with third parties
- What the app’s policy is on sharing information with law enforcement
- Whether information is protected in all phases of collection and storage
- Whether the app allows users to delete their data
- If the app uses personal information to build user profiles for non-primary use
Answering the above questions will give you enough of a clue to determine how the app is using your data. This includes whether the app will sell their data, use it for marketing and advertising, or store it in such a way it makes it vulnerable to hackers.
Securing your Payment Apps
Security has to be a daily part of your personal and business protocol in a digital ecosystem. It takes less than a minute to check and update your anti-virus/malware software. But this simple act will save you a lot of headaches by preventing a breach.
A simple cybersecurity training will do wonders for you and your employees to protect your small business. When it comes to payment app security, you can do the following to make your information more secure:
- Use a Password Generator. Password protection is crucial in securing your financial information. Use a password generator to come up with and protect your password.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication. Go a step further with password protection and configure an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication.
- Secure Your Lock Screen. Don’t stop at a secure login to the app. Make sure your phone is also locked so your information isn’t compromised if your phone is lost or stolen.
- Make It Private. Although it can be amusing to use Venmo as a social network, doing so can compromise your security. Switch your payment settings to private so your payment history and time stamps aren’t available publicly.
- Enable Notifications. Make sure you’re notified of any payments or changes to your account so you can address them quickly if you didn’t authorize them.
- Monitor Your Bank Accounts. Don’t neglect your bank accounts. Regularly monitor their activity so you can alert your bank if something doesn’t look right.
Payment apps have introduced a new level of convenience for both consumers and merchants. But this convenience has risks if you don’t apply some precautions to protect your information. With the right safety measures in place, you can enjoy the benefits of payment apps.
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