Today, there are at least six methods through which goods and services can be paid for. These are net banking, mobile wallets, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based apps, Aadhaar Enabled Payments System (AEPS), cards, USSD banking, Point of Sale (PoS), mobile banking, micro ATMs etc. All of these payment methods are geared towards promoting cashless means of making and accepting payments. They have also simplified the entire process. For example, using a UPI based app, one can pay at a local kirana store in max. two taps on the phone screen.
In India, digital payment methods saw rapid adoption during the demonetization process. Ever since, the awareness about them has grown and more people are using them as their preferred means of payment. Even vendors are rapidly adopting them as a means of accepting payments. Do a quick survey of your local market and you’d notice that most shops are now accepting payments through one or more mobile wallet providers.
Digital payment methods are also a good way to get rid of that extra cash in your physical wallet. Below are few safety tips that would enable you to adopt them with ease:
- Protect your phone with a screen-lock mechanism (PIN, password or pattern lock): Payment modes like mobile wallets, UPI based apps, mobile banking etc. are primarily driven through apps on mobile devices. Without a screen-lock, anybody who has access to your phone, can access these apps easily. A screen-lock also protects your information from misuse in case the mobile device is lost or stolen.
- Add only the required amount of currency in mobile wallets: Loading mobile wallets with more currency is not advisable. It increases your exposure to loss in case your mobile wallet gets compromised. Most mobile wallet service providers also restrict the amount users can add in a month.
- Ensure that your card details are protected: Do not share information such as CVV number, PIN, Card number etc. with anyone. Remember, banks will never ask you for these details on call. Ensure that the merchant is well-reputed and trusted before storing card details with them. As an additional safety measure, you can scratch the CVV number off your card after memorizing it.
- Check for HTTPS before performing an online payments: Most service providers and banks use a secure (encrypted) communication channel for online payments. This channel is known as Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol over Transport Layer Security or HTTPS. The most common way to identify this is a green pad-lock icon in the left corner of the address bar. Another way is to look at the beginning of the link (URL) for “https”.
- Keep an eye on payment transaction alert messages: Anytime you perform a payment transaction, the concerned bank sends a SMS alert regarding the same. If you haven’t opted for this service, do so today. Alert SMS helps you in keeping track of activity on your bank account. If you come across any suspicious alert, report the same to the concerned bank immediately. For example, if you receive an alert SMS for any activity, not initiated by you, then it could be termed as a suspicious alert.
Did you find these tips useful? Do you have any tips of your own? Share them with us in comments.
Uday Mittal is a cybersecurity professional with rich working experience working with various industries including telecom, publishing, consulting and finance. He holds internationally recognized certifications such as CRTP, OSCE, OSCP, CISSP, CISA, CISM, CRISC among others. He speaks on cybersecurity awareness, offensive security research etc. and has authored various articles on topics related to cyber security and software development for a leading magazine on open source software.