Mobile phone contactless payment

Mobile phone payments are now more secure than traditional cards, says expert

USING your mobile phone to pay at the till is more secure than a traditional bank card, according to security experts.

Services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay are growing in popularity for contactless purchases.

But many people are worried that adding their bank accounts to their handheld devices will leave them more vulnerable to criminal activity if they lose their phone.

However, one payment expert has poured cold water on the myth that thrusting your iPhone rather than a plastic bank card towards the contactless terminal is a bad idea.

Christo Georgiev, founder of London-based payments provider myPOS, says that because modern phones feature advanced security protocols such as face identification and fingerprint recognition they are the better option in terms of safety.

And he insists mobile devices are very much ‘the future’ when it comes to making purchases in store.

Mr Georgiev said: “Payments made via mobile phones are even more secure than those made by contactless cards.

“That’s because there are several layers of security on the devices people use.

“First you need to verify the card when initially saving it in the app. Then, in order to make a payment, there are different types of security applied by different providers.

“There will be either a code or password required to activate the card and approve the payment, or there will be a fingerprint scan or face recognition system on the phone.

“The standard plastic card has a PIN that may be required from time to time, especially after new rules that mean merchants will ask for the PIN following a certain number of contactless payments.

“But people often keep their PIN written down along with their card in a purse or wallet.

“For mobile payments the key factor is the multi-layer authentication which comes from the provider and the customer who has set up the security measures on the device.”

Apple Pay was the first ‘digital wallet’ on the market when it was released in October 2014.

Android Pay followed in 2015 and was renamed Google Pay in 2018.

There are no spending limits on either system, although some retailers cap the contactless payments at £30 – the same as cards.

They feature a host of security measures, including each card being given a virtual account number so that the real details are never shared with retailers to help protect against fraud.

They also require a screen lock to be set up on devices in order for them to work. Mobiles use NFC, or near-field communication, technology to ‘talk’ to the payment terminal and complete the transaction.

Mr Georgiev added: “It is important to keep the mobile device secure and updated to guard against any kind of potential misuse.

“As long as this is done, then it should all work safely and securely.

“Mobile payments are actually the future and the payment industry will be developing more in that direction in the years to come.”

One potential issue with the in-built security measures could arise if retailers and companies follow the lead of Transport for London.

Last month TfL introduced a new system where phone payments can be taken for trips on the Tube and buses in the capital without users having to unlock their devices.

The ‘Express Transit’ feature, exclusively for Apple devices including more recent models of iPhones and Apple Watches, means that users can simply tap their device onto the payment pad and the ticket will be issued of the trip ended.

The move comes as it was revealed that one in five of the contactless journeys made across the TfL network every week are made using a smart device.

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