It is no secret that the internet of things has been on the horizon and growing rapidly. More and more devices have a connection to the web and make it a part of their operations. One element that has really had a huge impact on small business has been the development of various mobile payment options that can be used on just about any mobile device.
Whether it is the ability to swipe your phone and make a payment at the local grocery store or a street festival vendor adding a device that turns their mobile phone into a credit card reader, mobile payments are changing the way we live. We are already living in a world where cash seems to be the payment of last resort, and with these new methods of accepting payment through the internet we are going to see cashless transactions grow in number even more. But with this method of easy payment comes easy fraud as well.
So how do you make sure that you are keeping your bank account safe when you encounter one of these new ways to make a payment through a mobile device? There are ways to both safeguard your own mobile payment devices and ways to make it easier and safer for your customers to use them. Here are few things to keep in mind.
What App to Use?
It all starts with your choice of application. That is true whether you are adding one to your smartphone so you can pay directly from your phone or adding one to a tablet so that you as a merchant can accept payments. When looking at the various apps to use, make sure that it is one you are familiar with and can trust. Generally, that would mean only purchasing an app for payment through something like a recognized online store such as the App Store from Apple.
Most Android devices will only allow you to download an app from the Google store, so that is an extra measure of security. Know and understand how that app works, get it from a trusted source and only use it the way it was intended.
While it can be a real pain to try to remember all those passwords, it is a smart idea to make sure that any mobile device that you have is password protected. Many devices come with a pattern recognition application built right into the device so you don’t have to remember a bunch of letters and numbers, you simply swipe a pattern on the device to unlock it.
Remember that if you are using this device to make payments or accept payments it is like leaving an open wallet around to not have it password protected. For anyone who is a vendor at a street fair, where you will have that tablet or smartphone sitting around where anyone can pick it up, this is especially important. Just remember that if your device is sitting around without password protection anyone can access everything on that device, including your banking information.
Pay Attention to Financial Statements
Most of us tend to simply gloss over our financial statements from the bank when they show up in our email. But if you make mobile payments or if you are a vendor that accepts mobile payments, you need to read it carefully every month. Anything on that statement that looks unusual should be followed up immediately. Most of the time the first inkling we have that our account has been hacked will be when we see charges to our bank account that we know we never made.
Always check your statements and in fact if you just did a street fair or similar situation where you used a mobile payment device, check your bank statements from home right away to see if anything looks amiss. It doesn’t take long and it never hurts to check.