Digital Wallets

 

Since the boom of the digital age, our day to day tasks have become easier due to technological advancements, especially when it comes to paying for anything. We no longer need to drive all the way to the bank in rush hour traffic. Alternatively, we can now take a photo to deposit a check. Mailing a payment to pay bills is almost completely extinct. Most companies now have wireless options where consumers can pay online or through an app. Instead of physically writing out a check, companies like Venmo and Popmoney have made it possible for consumers to send someone money by touching a screen. As these physical means of exchanging money change to more digital platforms, one would think that our personal information would be safe, yet there are still areas for concern.

 

apple-pay

 

We’ve all heard endless horror stories from friends and family about people having cards and money stolen from a personal account, especially when traveling abroad. So, when I went to Ireland, I made sure to constantly check my wallet to ensure my credit cards were safe in my bag.  Unfortunately, at the airport, I ran out of cash and was forced to use my debit card for one final purchase. Once home, I checked my purse for my wallet and found my debit card was missing. I quickly checked my banking app to see if any money had been spent. Luckily, nothing had been taken. I immediately called Bank of America to cancel the card and have another shipped to my house ASAP. Why tell you a story about a physical card getting lost? As technology becomes a crucial part of our lives, individuals are less concerned about security and instead trust what others tell them about new platforms. Personally, I am an extremely cautious person, yet when it comes to my digital credit card, I am careless about where I put my credit card information.

 

breakdown-of-fraud

 

When physical debit cards are used, people are more careful to prevent their information from being stolen. For example:

  1. Restaurants: When a check is given to a customer, most people make sure to fill out and sign both copies. Although we all hope that no one would change anything written, people continue to do things like signing both copies, drawing a line next to the tip amount, and even taking pictures of the receipt.
  2. Check Disposal: New apps like the ones mentioned above are slowly taking the place of writing out physical checks or using cash, but there are instances when checks are still used or need to be thrown out. In these situations, consumers, always make sure to shred or rip up all the important information on the check. Doing so ensures that another person will not get their bank account number.
  3. Brandless ATMS: There are occasions where going to an ATM is necessary, but I try to stay away from companies that I don’t recognize. Like stated above, I’ve hear countless stories of friends having their information stolen while using a No Name ATM. Whenever possible, it is important to only go to either a bank ATM or an ATM with a notable name.

 

atm

 

Growing up, taking precautions like these were instilled in millennials by adults. The same steps are not taken as new apps develop.  This is mainly because the risks are not as well known, yet the dangers are not that different than those associated with physical credit cards. If this is true, why is it that so many millennials are careless when it comes to online transactions? It is vital that, as more money-transferring apps are used, individuals properly educate themselves on how to safely use these platforms.  Some of the most popular apps currently used to transfer money are:

  1. Venmo
  2. Apply Pay
  3. PayPal
  4. Google Wallet
  5. PopMoney

Each of these apps uses your credit card or Bank account number to connect individuals to their peers, making it easy to exchange money to one another. One major point millennials need to understand when using these apps is that as technology gets better, hackers get smarter. For every person helping create a safety feature on Venmo, there is another, just as smart, trying to figure out a way to crack the code. These intellectuals are learning as technology improves and it is crucial for consumers to be able to identify which platforms they can trust. If these consumers do not take the proper time to research and educate themselves on these apps and their security features, credit card fraud rates will likely increase.

card-robber

8 comments

  1. Austin Ellis · ·

    Really great post on an important topic. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose a credit or debit card. I personally know a few people who refuse to use Venmo because they are not confident in its security. The online graphic I found particular interesting, because people really do seem less concerned with their cards online than they are with the physical cards. I surveyed my roommates last week for a potential blog, and found that people were not willing to use their cards for large purchases on their phones/apps, but would instead go to their computers. Interesting to see how things will develop.

  2. I found this post particularly interesting as someone who generally trusts online marketplaces to safely manage my payment data. Much of my trust is founded on a history of positive experiences, which your post has shown me is a false sense of security. However, another major tenet of my trust is bank and credit card companies’ historically quick efforts to repay customers for fraudulent purchases and generally make discrepancies right. If this trend continues, as I’d assume most consumers demand, the burden of detecting the risks of payment fraud may fall on the banks and other financial institutions. Do you think there is a way to motivate consumer concern over payment security without penalizing them for risky transactions?

  3. kdphilippi18 · ·

    This is definitely a really important and relevant issue today. I think you point out a number of really essential issues – most are more concerned about their physical credit cards being stolen and aren’t aware of the dangers of credit card information being stolen online. I am guilty of both of these things. I also think that most aren’t concerned about this happening to them until it is too late. Or if something does happen they aren’t sure which website stole the information so they don’t change their behavior. I wonder if there are more security breaches with apps like venmo/apple pay or on traditional websites. Hopefully, in the future more people will start to make the shift to prioritizing how to protect themselves online instead of just their physical credit card information. Great post!

  4. This is a very pressing topic in our society today. I can admit there have been times when I have been reckless with online spendings – buying clothes and other items from random websites. This is obviously irresponsible, but how come we keep doing it? 1) Like you mentioned, we have never been taught online security. 2) The ease of purchasing from online gives us a false sense of security.

    Some of these fintech companies scare me. Take Venmo for example. If their platform was hacked and millions of bank accounts and credit cards were stolen, who is responsible? Is it the Government job to step in or does the full blame lie on Venmo? This is very important as we continue to advance and move e-commerce.

  5. polmankevin · ·

    Awesome post! I really liked your personal story, I thought it was a great lead in to the topic. I am definitely careful with my physical debit/credit card, but the problem with online fraud is that it is very difficult to know (almost impossible) if someone takes your information. I definitely agree that there is a lot of risk with online and mobile payment platforms. I am guilty of putting a lot trust in companies when shopping online or sending money to friends. I usually assume that the smart cyber-security people working at these firms are good at their jobs. As we’ve seen with hacks during this election period and at companies like Yahoo, people have the ability to get in. The future of cyber-security, especially in the banking industry, represents a huge area of opportunity, but also a big area of risk and vulnerability.

  6. I like the idea of being able to use my phone to exchange/control my money. The fingerprint analytical software is a lot more secure than using a signature. It’s definitely risky but that’s because it’s new. I think Apple Wallet will end up becoming the primary way that people make transactions in time because they dominate just about everything else. I’m terrible with my debit card, I’m so careless with it that I’m currently on my 4th one so I would definitely prefer this because it’s super annoying waiting for a new one to come in the mail. Great post overall.

  7. sandytanny · ·

    Great and informative post! I echo a lot of the same sentiments from the comments above. I am definitely someone who is very protective / anxious about keeping my debit and credit cards safe and secure. However, with digital and online spending being so easy and convenient, it is easy to forget the security dangers that these pose. On the flip side, it is unrealistic to move backwards as technology continually progresses and improves. I think the emphasis should be on online security and developing technologies that keeps our private information safe from hackers, etc.

  8. Good post and very relevant topic right now. While I am a user of most of the services mentioned above, I recognize the fact that I am also an early adopter. We are still a long way from these platforms being major alternatives to standard payment methods. A colleague of mine recently wrote a blog post on the topic. Check it out: http://americas.nttdata.com/blogs/digital-dialogue/2016/november/mobile-wallet-hierarchy-of-needs

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