Paying It Safe: Using Apple Pay Safely

22 Mar 2015
by John Foley
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As e-wallets continue to increase in popularity, and other tech sites have labeled Apple Pay as a “milestone” in how consumers make payments. But Apple Pay has also come under fire with a series of fraudulent charges for big-ticket items at Apple Stores. So how can you use Apple Pay safely? Here is a list of ways to keep yourself safe while using this new technology.

1. Physical Deterrents

ApplePayWhile the Apple Pay security breaches came about through the stolen credit card information from data breaches at Target and Home Depot, it doesn’t mean that’s the only way your personal information can be stolen. What’s to stop someone from stealing your phone and extracting the same information from it?

To protect yourself from such an event, the first step you should take is to lock your phone. Most phones have number code and swipe-lock options. Having a lock on your phone will make it more difficult for thieves to find what they’re looking for. Another step you should take is to download an app protector. These enable you to put a password on any or all apps on your phone. And don’t use the same number combination for this password — use something new. Lastly, make sure you have the “find my phone” option in the “on” position. This enables you to track or remotely clear the data from your phone if it’s stolen.

2. Backup

As the world saw in the Target and Home Depot breaches, even protecting your physical items doesn’t ensure you’re protected from identity theft. With hackers constantly poking and prodding companies’ security, you never know if your information will be stolen due to a data breach. This makes an identity protection service such as LifeLock all the more important. These services monitor your bank accounts, credit cards and social security number to secure your identity. With a variety of monthly pricing options for less or more robust protection, you’re sure to get the protection that works for you.

3. The Upside of Apple Pay

While the fraudulent charges concerning Apple Pay are worrisome, the data breaches to Target and Home Depot are the ultimate cause of the issues. While it’s a good idea to take advantage of protection services and set up passwords and self-destruct strategies for your phone, some experts say Apple Pay is actually more secure than using a normal credit card. Here’s why: Your credit card information isn’t stored on your iPhone or the Apple servers. Instead, it’s kept within the network of your credit card company. When you purchase something with Apple Pay, your credit card company sends a 16-digit number to your iPhone that acts as a one-time use credit card number. Only the last four digits of this 16-digit number are ever visible to anyone, as the rest of the code is stored within your phone’s secure element. The code in question cannot be hacked in order to gain access to your information.

While this system does seem robust, it has been broken due to data breaches at other companies. Nothing is fail-proof, but with the precautions mentioned above, you can help stay as secure as possible.

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