Is using Apple Pay safe?

Apple Pay may be the most widely adopted mobile payment app, but is it secure?Image source: Getty Images.

Apple Pay is arguably the most widely adopted mobile payment application, and it is expected to continue to dominate the market. The app is expected to represent 50% of contactless mobile wallet users by 2020.

With its growing popularity, consumers are finally starting to embark on the contactless payment revolution. However, there is still some hesitation when it comes to mobile wallets, probably because many consumers are concerned that they aren’t secure enough.

What is Apple Pay and how does it work?

Apple Pay lets you make purchases in stores and online using your Apple devices instead of using cash or a physical credit or debit card. Simply enter your card information into Apple Wallet. When you’re getting ready to make a purchase, use Apple Pay to speed up your checkout process by eliminating the need to swipe your card or create an online account.

Depending on your phone model, you may also need to hold your finger on Touch ID, use facial recognition, or enter a passcode. Other than that, you shouldn’t need any additional steps – you don’t even need to open an app! Keep in mind that Apple Pay isn’t universally accepted, but it will work at any merchant on the growing list of retailers that accept Apple Pay.

As a bonus, you can also send and receive money directly through your messages. This is ideal for transferring funds to friends and family without incurring additional fees.

Why Apple Pay might be safer than using your card

Despite the ease of use, you might be worried that using a mobile wallet like Apple Pay won’t protect you against credit card fraud. While storing your credit card information on your phone might seem vulnerable, in reality, it’s probably safer than using your physical card.

Unlike traditional online payment terminals that store your credit card information, Apple does not store any financial information directly on your devices or on their servers when you use Apple Pay. In fact, Apple doesn’t even have access to your card information. It is only communicated between the card and the payment terminal when you make a purchase. The only information stored on your phone is your unique device account number, which is encrypted and serves as an alias to protect you.

So how does it actually work to protect your finances? Take the case of stolen cards. If someone steals your physical credit card, they can use it immediately and often won’t be questioned, even if used in person. However, if you choose to make purchases with Apple Pay and your phone is stolen, the thief will not be able to access your mobile payment information. It will be protected by a number of protections, including a password and biometric authentication such as your fingerprint.

That being said, if a thief got your credit card information some other way, they could still add it to an Apple Pay account and start spending in-store until you notice and take some measures. This is not a fault of the Apple Pay system, but more so of the fact that banks do not verify the cards that have been added to mobile payment systems. Fortunately, the best credit cards offer zero liability protection against fraud.

How to avoid fraud when using Apple Pay

Apple Pay appears to be a safer alternative to traditional plastic credit cards, with Apple taking extra security measures to protect both your privacy and your financial information. There are still additional steps you can take to protect yourself.

Never share your Apple ID and password with anyone, and be careful not to repeat passwords for other accounts. Opt for two-factor authentication to unlock your phone, such as a passcode and fingerprint. This reduces the chances that someone can access your sensitive information if they get their hands on your phone.

Don’t forget to set up “Find My iPhone” so you can easily locate your phone if it’s lost or stolen, and turn off Apple Pay to delete your financial information remotely. Finally, be sure to only add your credit and debit card information to your mobile wallet when you’re connected to your own private, password-protected Wi-Fi network. Never use public Wi-Fi as it can open you up to hackers.

Apple Pay is a great alternative to the traditional payment system. However, no payment method is completely secure, so it is up to you to take a few important precautions.

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