Protecting your mobile payments from hackers

Jun 25, 2012 16:30:44Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Protecting your mobile payments from hackers

In the not-so-distant future, paying for purchases with your mobile device may be as common a practice as using debit cards or cash. According to RCR Wireless, a study conducted by Juniper Research found contactless payment transactions are expected to reach $50 billion across the globe by 2014.

With the rise of this form of payment comes new threats, and it is important cellphone users take steps to avoid putting their mobile privacy at risk. According to U.S. News & World Report, there are a number of ways mobile device owners can keep personal information out of the reach of hackers and do not fall victim to identity theft. In fact, with the right security steps, paying using a mobile device may actually be safer than paying with a debit or credit card.

"There's a lot of data around the transaction that can actually be utilized to protect people, and that data isn't available with a plastic credit card," Ben Milne, a CEO of a mobile payment provider, told the news source.

Here are a few tips to ensure a person's device is protected as best as possible.

Set up a PIN on your cellphone

Adding a PIN to your cellphone so no one can access the home screen without the code is imperative to keeping your device safe. This step offers no guarantees, but it does give some added protection. 

Utilize immediate electronic receipt

Finding applications that issue immediate receipts is key. This way, if a hacker is using your personal information to make purchases, you will be able to see the receipt of the transaction right away.

Importance of two-factor authentication

Setting up a PIN is one thing, but it is important to put up another safeguard on your phone before a purchase can be made. For instance, choose a method that requires two-factor authentication - one to access the phone and another to finalize a payment. This can be something as simple as adding an additional password or security question to your payment process.

Check statements daily

It is important to always keep an eye on your bank statements and balance. This is often the fastest way to find out if your personal information has been compromised. Make a habit of checking once a day for each bank account you own.

Report any problems right away

If a person notices any unfamiliar purchases on their bank statements or transaction history, they should report the problem immediately. Mobile payments are often protected, but if an individual waits too long, they will not be able to get their money back.