Dos and Don’ts of Mobile Payment Apps

Payment apps are a convenient way to pay your family, friends or your favorite small business in a blink of an eye. When using these apps, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself and your finances from scams. Keep these tips in mind the next time you make a payment through a payment app.

  1. DO – Use a credit card. Credit cards typically have better fraud protection to keep the cardholder from facing unauthorized charges. If you want to avoid fees, you can also open a checking account just for your payment app and link no other accounts to it. This way if money is stolen, it’s a much smaller amount. 

    DON’T - Link your debit card to your payment app account. People tend to link their bank account or debit card directly to their payment apps to avoid app fees, but if your payment app is hacked, money could be easily stolen from your bank account. 

  2. DO – Use cellular data or private WiFi network. 

    DON’T - Make payments over public Wi-Fi networks. Anyone who has access to the public Wi-Fi network would have access to the information sent over it. This means that a hacker could gain access to your mobile device and all the information on it. 

  3. DO - Double check that you are using the most up-to-date app version. Occasionally checking for app updates will ensure that you are using the most secure version.

    DON’T – Use untrusted payment platforms. Apps like Apple Pay, Venmo, PayPal and CashApp have advanced security through encryption so you can transfer money safely, so make sure the platform you’re using is trusted.

  4. DO - Always verify usernames before sending any funds. Scanning the profile QR code given by the known source will help you avoid sending money to the wrong person, or apps like Venmo may ask you to verify the user’s phone number before completing a transaction.

    DON’T – Send money to unverified usernames. It’s common for scammers to impersonate people or businesses to gain funds, so confirming the recipient’s username is a simple way to keep your money safe. Most payment apps do not allow you to cancel a payment after you send it, so this could leave you in a tough financial spot if you send money to the wrong person.