Mobile Payment Security Trends and Opportunities


Posted on by Heather Redding

With the pandemic sweeping across the world, many Internet users rely on new digital solutions to conduct payments online.

However, with these new solutions and the development of new payment technologies, new security challenges and opportunities have emerged as well.

To ensure business continuity and keep customer data safe and secure, it’s necessary to review the latest trends. The same applies to users who face a variety of payment options and want to ensure their payment data is in good hands.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the recent trends and events in the mobile payment security sphere.

Weak Verification Procedures Are a Significant Concern

Even though data security has vastly improved over the years, weak verification procedures remain a security risk.

When banks have weak verification procedures, attackers can exploit them and use apps to make purchases. To use a payment app, users enter the credit card number into the app. After that, the app asks the bank to verify the credit card number to make sure the number is valid. If the bank’s verification process is weak, attackers can exploit it and add stolen cards on their phones, which they can use to purchase anything, essentially clearing accounts.

An example of such an exploit is the 2019 Apple Pay Fraud. Even though Apple Pay uses Touch ID to verify fingerprints and temporary codes to process payments, hackers could still load stolen credit cards into their phones using a loophole in the app’s security. Since the cards’ banks didn’t have a robust verification system, they verified the stolen cards. They spent millions of dollars before officials finally caught them.

,Your best bet is to review the verification procedures and security of the payment app you’re considering to protect yourself from similar attacks. Thoroughly research if the app has had security flaws in the past. Be vigilant about user experiences with stolen money. Find a more reliable payment app if the app has had incidents in the past or does little to protect its users when a security leak occurs.

COVID-Accelerated Payment Security

Since the pandemic began, the number of people who rely on mobile app payments has increased rapidly. As direct contact and physical money contribute to the spread of the virus, health officials around the globe have advised the implementation of near-field communication (NFC) contactless payments as the safest payment method. Their adoption skyrocketed afterward and has transformed contactless mobile payments from convenient to necessary and routine payment options. A report by eMarketer has shown that the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the use of mobile payments, with in-store mobile payment usage growing by 29% in the United States. There are three security measures that make mobile payments more secure:

Tokenization technology enables mobile wallets not to transmit sensitive information when making a payment. Instead, they send tokenized data, which is useless to criminals.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) uses two different forms of security identification to protect sensitive data from theft. 

Device-specific cryptograms are a failsafe mechanism that checks if the transaction came from the cardholder’s device.

Even if the attacker managed to steal sensitive data, the cryptogram wouldn’t allow it to be used for payments unless it’s from the card owner’s mobile phone. Keep in mind that mobile payment app users are still vulnerable, despite their security improvements. For instance, if they lose their devices, a skilled individual can steal their sensitive data and clear their accounts.

Online Payments Are on an Unstoppable Rise

Users are rapidly turning to online payments for their buying needs because of several factors. Consequently, more and more eCommerce websites are increasing their online payment capabilities.

The benefits of online payments and financial technology (Fintech) have been a fast and secure solution for businesses and their customers. The industry is now ripe with opportunities and challenges. But let’s talk numbers first.

A payment industry report by PYMNTS.com has found that almost 36% of US consumers buy retail goods online. Interestingly, when the pandemic hit countries worldwide in April 2020, and all the physical stores were closed, 29% of shoppers switched online. When everything eventually goes back to normal, Fintech will keep rising, and being able to recognize what makes a Fintech solution trustworthy will keep your finances safe.

Retailers and customers need to understand the must-have features of modern Fintech.

Some of their many innovations are:

  • QR code scanning
  • Biometric security that uses an individual’s physical traits for identification
  • Access to Blockchain tech
  • Two-factor authentication

If the Fintech app has these features, it satisfies the modern standard for a viable online payment solution.

Conclusion

As expected, the state of mobile payment security has changed over the past year and a half. Understanding how these changes create security threats and improvement opportunities will be crucial as financial technology continues to rise.


Contributors
Heather Redding

Content Manager , Aurora

Mobile & IoT Security

secure payments & cryptocurrencies

Blogs posted to the RSAConference.com website are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment.  Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the blog author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of RSA® Conference, RSA Security LLC or any other co-sponsors. RSA Conference does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this blog.


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