Purchase your Christmas gifts, pay for a round of festive drinks with colleagues, stock up on groceries – it's all possible with a simple tap of your smartphone. But as spending escalates in the lead up to Xmas, so too should your caution that you’re protecting yourself when purchasing on a mobile platform.
Whether you’re using Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay or any other of the ‘digital wallet’ options available, you can be sure they come with built-in security measures. Apart from pin code access, they use multiple high-level barriers against cybertheft, including the masking of account numbers so that merchants never get to see your actual card number.
While these technologically advanced protections are a reassuring feature of mobile payments, there are still steps we can take to increase security.
1. Password protect
Embrace the optional security features of your digital wallet and smartphone. You might think it’s unnecessary to have to log in with a pin code combined with a biometric method like fingerprint recognition, but you’ll be glad of this extra precaution if your phone is lost or stolen.
Many smartphones allow you to erase your data or turn on password authentication remotely, both great options to activate if your phone falls into the wrong hands.
The safest place to keep your password is in your head; not on your phone! If you’re struggling to remember too many passwords, your next best option is a reputable password manager, which can store all your passwords in an encrypted vault locked with a single master password.
2. Don’t use public Wi-Fi for private purposes
Just as there are certain areas of the city you might not venture into at night, consider unsecured public Wi-Fi as a danger-ground for unwelcome encounters with hackers.
If you’re transferring money on your phone, making an online purchase or adding cards to your mobile wallet, always use your password-protected Wi-Fi network. Using a public Wi-Fi for these activities exposes you to the risk of having your details spoofed, thus sending your credit card information, password and other data directly to the hacker rather than the connection point you intended.
If you’re on the go and it’s inconvenient to wait until a secure internet connection becomes available, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) as an alternative to public Wi-Fi.
3. Check before you click or download
Click on a dodgy link or app, and your phone could become infected with malware. Without your knowledge, this malware is then used by cybercriminals to steal your passwords and other private information.
Avoid clicking on links, advertisements, emails or text messages from unfamiliar sources. Before downloading an app, check its reputability by reading the user reviews and researching the developer’s name online. Installing anti-virus software on your phone is an extra safeguard.
Tip! If you’re looking for a secure, reputable way to access your supported Yellow Brick Road accounts in real time from your smartphone, download our Empower app from the app store.
4. Watch where you shop
Don’t assume that every website you shop at provides a secure payment portal. Never risk sending your credit card or bank account details over the internet unless you can see HTTPS in the browser address bar and a padlock symbol. It means that any data passed between your phone and the server is scrambled using a code that can’t be read by a third party.
Be conscious of holding tight to your bank details, which means never sending them in an email or text.
5. Monitor your accounts
Make a habit of checking your online bank accounts periodically for suspicious transactions. Don’t just look for large withdrawals; sometimes cyber thieves will make small less obvious deductions to verify your account is working and has credit before moving to larger purchases.
Some mobile wallets can send you an alert for out of ordinary transactions. Alternatively, you may have the option to set this up directly with your lender.
**The information on this article contains general information and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. If you require further information don’t hesitate to contact the branch directly.