It’s not so long since we lived in a world where paying for things online was seen as a major taboo, something to avoid at all costs (pardon the pun). That’s because whilst the internet was a relative unknown, there was a perceived wisdom that it was populated with fraudsters and scammers.
Nowadays though we don’t think twice about opening up our phone and buying our groceries, or logging into an app to pay our utility bills. Should we be so blasé about paying for goods and services online though?
Whilst the old perceived wisdom of the internet as the playground for ne’er-do-wells is a little overblown, it’s not without merit; there are plenty of fraudsters and scammers out there vying for your money.
What can you do to protect your money when you shop online then? Well, you can ensure that you always use a trusted payment service. Read on to find out what online mobile payment options offer you the highest level of safety.
The safest way that you can pay for anything online is by using a mobile wallet such as PayPal or Apple Pay. To set either of these up you will need to input your personal information and your payment card details, but only once.
That’s because once you’re all set up with PayPal or Apple Pay, sites will no longer ask you for your card details. When you hit the button to pay with one of these wallets, they encrypt your data with a developer specific key and then send it to the merchant.
At no point will Apple Pay or PayPal share your card details with the merchant. In essence, what they are doing is taking money from your account and giving a merchant a coupon to take that money and only that money, without ever having to process any of your data.
There are now many apps and other features that users can pay for via their mobile phone billing as long as the phone carrier accepts this method.
An example of in-app purchases that can be paid for by phone bill are online casino games. There are now many casino providers accepting phone bill payments from players who wish to play casino games. The process works as the total amount is added on top of the regular phone bill rather than taken directly from another payment account.
Some players believe that paying via a phone bill provides more security and protection.
If you’re on and old-school website or a smaller, independent website you may be asked to pay on an old-fashioned browser but is this safe? Well, 99% of the time it is, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be safety conscious.
There are two nice and easy things to look out for when you’re paying over browser to make sure your payment is safe and secure. The first is that the website address starts with https:// as this shows that you are visiting a secure web page.
The second is to look out for the padlock symbol in the far right-hand corner of your browser address bar. This shows that the website you are using is safe and encrypted which means you know your payment details will be safe and secure.
If you’re buying goods online you should also have a mobile banking app that you use regularly to keep on top of your purchases. The vast majority of the banks in the UK have a number of safety features automatically in place to keep you safe online.
One of which is payment verification, which comes into place when you make an unusual, large or sporadic purchase online. When this happens your bank will send you a notification asking you to go into your app to authorise the payment.
If a website or merchant enables payment verification then you can trust them, if on the other hand they don’t, maybe think twice about giving them your money.
It is an expensive business adapting your business to allow mobile internet payments, which is why a number of small independent businesses choose to outsource their mobile payment to a third-party.
In this case it is up to you as the consumer to do your due diligence and ensure that the third-party matches your standards of online safety and security. To stay safe make sure that the seller is using a trusted platform like PayPal, Venmo, Stripe or Revolut.
As we move closer toward a cashless society, more companies are investing in contactless payment terminals. The best way to keep your data safe and secure is to use your mobile phone to pay on these terminals.
Similarly to the PayPal and Apple Pay methods discussed above, these mobile payment options will encrypt your data and keep your sensitive personal data private and secure.
There are a number of mobile payment options available to use, many of them not even covered in this article. The principles of staying safe online though remain the same.
Keep your wits about you, look out for indicators of safety and security like the browser padlock and only spend with companies that you know you can trust.
If a company sounds dodgy or their website looks unsecure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.