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November 2019 - 5 Things to Know When Using Those Ever-Popular Payment Apps

5 Things to Know When Using Those Ever-Popular Payment AppsRemember when you wouldn’t leave the house without a few dollars in your pocket just in case? Eventually credit and debit cards replaced that emergency cash. Today, it’s your cell phone. Need to make a purchase or pay someone back? Just take out your phone and, as quickly as you can type, the transaction is done thanks to peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems.

Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are some of the more popular P2P payments apps available today. Even Facebook offers a system through Messenger. The big draw is not having to carry cash or divulge your banking or credit/debit card information to everyone.

P2P payment transactions exceed $120 billion a year. They’re popular and convenient, but are they safe?

Most of the major apps are compliant with the same Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards that your major credit cards are. They’re required to encrypt your financial information for safer transmittal and provide fraud monitoring and risk protection services. Still these apps are subject to hackers and scammers like everything else these days. To further protect yourself:

  1. Limit transactions to people you know. Scammers will try to get you to send them money online. And, if you’re selling something to a stranger – assuming the app allows for this – transfer the funds received to your bank account and confirm the transfer before completing the sale.
  2. Use additional security measures. These apps require access to your financial information and, while default security measures usually apply, consider enabling additional ones like multi-factor authentication, fingerprint or facial recognition or PINs.
  3. Review your social media privacy setting. Some apps use links to social media accounts for identity verification or share details of your transactions on social media. Make sure your permissions and privacy settings are at a level you’re comfortable with.
  4. Opt-in for notifications. Get texts or emails for every transaction on your account.
  5. Review before you hit ‘send.’ Mistyping a name, email address or phone number can easily send money to the wrong person.
Be proactive and stay safe! 
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