In 2018, PayPal completed a major milestone — it processed 227 billion mobile transactions. Truth be told, this comes as no surprise, considering the worldwide popularity of this service and the increasing number of people using mobile devices to complete online purchases.

Unfortunately, mobile shopping isn’t the only statistic that has increased. Mobile malware and other cyber security issues are also on the rise.

In Q2 of 2018 alone, there were 1.74 million software packages targeting mobile payments, social media information, and financial data you’re storing on your phone.

So how can we improve the overall security of our online mobile transactions?

First things first, don’t forget to lock your phone. Surprisingly, not everyone has enabled this security measure. It’s a simple hack but one that could save your money the next time you forget your phone in the company boardroom or at the local McDonald’s.

Secondly, always use two-step verification, also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA). Now, it’s true that this method takes a little more time to log in, but it’s worth the effort.

Another good piece of advice is to use a temporary cash card for your purchases. You choose how much to add to the card which doesn’t need to be connected with your bank account, unlike debit cards. In the U.S. banking system, you only have 48 hours to claw back unauthorized transactions. The Federal Reserve is testing immediate transfer capabilities now, which will shorten this time more. Core banking systems like those from FiServ, Jack Henry, FIS and DCI will implement these capabilities and you’ll see them in your banking portals.

Setting up a limit on your online transactions is another good way to protect your cash. Cards flag suspicious transactions, but not everything is suspicious, and once someone has access to your card, they will keep using it until it gets blocked. Adding a limit onto your accounts speeds up the process of flagging.

Last but not least, if anyone asks you to email or share your credit card information to process a transaction, think twice, or simply refuse to do it. More and more reputable companies have secure credit card payment input, which means no one sees your financial information. Emailing makes your credit card information unsecure and is just not worth the risk.

Internet-based banking and commerce are not things that are just going to fade. Although there are risks associated with them, they provide us convenience. You can have the best of both worlds as long as you take steps to protect yourself.

About rpjohnston

Randy is a nationally recognized technology consultant and speaker.

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