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