Mobile Wallets: Why They Are a Secure Payment Choice

Jan 13, 2017

photo of woman paying with her smartphoneAlthough most major retailers are now accepting mobile payments using services like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, many of us have been slow to adapt to using these digital wallets in favor of our traditional plastic credit or debit cards. Are concerns about the security of mobile wallets causing you some hesitation to making the shift? While it’s often wise to take a somewhat guarded approach to safety when it comes to new technology, mobile wallets actually offer many advantage over legacy  forms of payment when it comes to security. We delve into a few of the most salient ones here:

Multi-level encryption process: Mobile wallets all use several layers of encryption using NFC (near field communication) to protect your data during transactions. With NFC, the sales clerk and retailer never actually have possession of your payment information because their POS (Point of Sale System) does not actually read the information. Instead, NFC sends encrypted information to the Apple, Android or Samsung servers. The mobile wallet provider then de-encrypts the information, checks the card’s payment network and verifies your information, and then re-encrypts the data with a key that only your payment processor can use to access your bank information and send money to the store’s financial institution. Does the mobile wallet encryption process sound sufficiently complicated? Thankfully, it is for hackers as well.

Less likely for data to be compromised due to theft or loss of your device: In general, people tend to check their phones constantly throughout the day and are usually quick to realize when they go missing. While a mobile device protected by a passcode can act as a first line of defense against criminals that try to access your financial information, keep in mind that you can also quickly turn off your mobile wallet app from almost anywhere. In fact, you can even deactivate your phone and delete data remotely. That way, anyone who steals your phone can’t use the app to make purchases or obtain sensitive information.  On the other hand, wallets and debit and credit cards may only be used once or a couple of times per day, which may cause a time lapse of several hours or even days before your realize they are gone. This gives criminals a good head start for making unauthorized purchases or stealing financial data before you can take appropriate action.

Your financial data won’t be collected and stored in the retailer’s database: As we are all too aware, merchants are sometimes able to keep credit card information stored in their databases, which may make your personal and financial data vulnerable to a future security breach. But when you make a payment using a mobile wallet, your account details aren’t even available to the merchant at the time of the transaction, and they certainly can’t be recorded and later accessed by a hacker, or even stolen or inadvertently exposed by an employee.

Think you’re ready to experience the peace of mind and added convenience that comes with using a mobile wallet? SF Police Credit Union is pleased to announce that you can now add your SFPCU Platinum Visa® card to mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. For a quicker check-out process and greater security when you shop online or in stores, visit https://www.sfpcu.org/mobilepayments.

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