Tap to pay and mobile payment technologies are starting to become very popular.
And perhaps for good reason.
They provide people from all over the world with simpler and faster alternatives to traditional and slow payment methods such as debit cards and/or credit cards.
However, the most important question that most users want to know the answer to is:
Are these methods safe to use?
This is the question that we will try and answer today.
Surely, you must have thought about what would happen if you just woke up one day and saw that a cybercriminal had managed to clean out all of the money from your bank account?
We’re not saying that it will happen to you.
But what we are saying is that you should mentally prepare yourself.
Always be cognizant of the fact that any and all online payment methods are vulnerable to cyber attacks as well as fraud.
However, that does not mean you should become a Luddite and stop using technology where it makes your life easier.
If hackers are coming up with ways to swindle people of their money then payment companies are also hiring top talent in order to make it harder for cybercriminals to hack their systems.
More specifically, companies are getting better and better at implementing the strongest possible security measures which are available at any given time.
This is also exactly what the likes of Apple have done with their payment system that goes by the name of Apple Play.
Apple Pay is a secure digital payment method that allows people just like you to have a mobile wallet service in their mobile device.
This guide will further talk about what exactly is Apple Pay, how does it work and how can you know if it is safe to use Apple Pay.
Let’s get to it.
Apple Pay: What is it?
Apple Pay is, currently, digital wallet service and a mobile payment platform.
It enables users to engage in private, secure and easy transactions either in stores or on the web or even in some apps.
The main advantage of this system is that the user does not have to give out any of his credit card information or anything else each and every time he/she wants to make a payment.
Moreover, another benefit of using Apple Pay is that the user can receive and send money from other users who have set up Apple Pay, via the Messages app.
Do take note that this service only works for people living in the US.
The Apple Pay service is reliable enough for you to trust it when it says it will protect all of your online transactions along with your information.
Most of the security features that Apple Pay makes use of come built-in to the software and hardware of the device that you are holding.
Furthermore, you should also know that the device itself does not really hold any of your important details such as the ones on your credit card or your product purchases.
Consequently, effectively speaking, the user’s transaction details firmly remain between the merchant, the bank and the user.
This is why we tell people to just calm down and know that the merchant can never see any of the information that your credit card or debit card has.
Apple Pay: How does it work?
We have already mentioned that people can use Apple Pay and all it has to offer to make online, apps and store purchases.
How to use Apple Pay in Stores?
Users have the option of paying for their goods using their Apple Play account in any given store that supports or accepts modern contactless payments.
Apple Pay, as a service, makes use of a new technology that is called NFC or Near Field Communication.
As the name suggests, it only operates across distances that are short.
All that the user has to do is to put their Internet-enabled device close to the present card reader (a contactless one) and he/she should be able to make the online payment.
With that said, it is also true that even with this arrangement, the user still has to properly authenticate his/her transaction with the help of his/her passcode, Touch ID and/or Face ID.
How to use Apple Pay Online or in Apps?
It is common knowledge that you can make of Apple Pay to do online shopping as well as order any given product that some app is offering you.
Once you have on the correct page, your Apple device should bring up the Buy with Apple Pay option.
It usually appears on your screen once you have reached the checkout stage on a given store.
For users who think it is slightly risky to purchase any given product using Apple Pay then they need to read more about this service.
Our research shows that Apple Pay is indeed one of the more secure online payment methods.
That is, if you want to shop online.
Apple Pay is safer than most other online mobile payment methods for the simple reason that it makes use of a developer-specific key in order to re-encrypt the user’s transaction which is already encrypted.
And it does that before it sends any information to the user’s chosen payment processor.
The key that we have talked about above also makes sure that only the website or the app that the user is purchasing some stuff from is able to see his/her encrypted online payment information.
Under such arrangements, websites and apps have to verify their own domain with the service that Apple provides each and every time the user makes an online purchase.
This whole process essentially makes it very difficult for various cybercriminals including hackers to illegally obtain any kind of important information which belongs nowhere except on the user’s credit card or transaction details.
Moreover, you should also know that Apple has introduced the new Touch ID feature on MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
Using that feature, different users have the option of completing their online shopping activities much safer, faster and easier.
Should you pay with Apple Pay online or via Apps?
Well, we have already mentioned that you can pay with Apple Pay on any store that supports such payment methods.
But what about apps or online stores?
How do you go about ordering what you want from such outlets?
To answer that question, first, you need to make sure that you have activated the Apple Play service.
If you have then your device will definitely show you the Buy with Apple Pay option.
Once it does, you need to follow the steps that we have mentioned below:
- First, you need to tap the option that says Buy with Apple Pay.
This option usually comes in the shape of a button.
If you do not see the button, you should be able to pick Apple Pay as the preferred payment option on your device.
- After that, you need to make sure that you have correctly input your shipping, billing and contact information.
There is no reason why you should not be able to store all such information on Apple Pay itself.
That way you will never have to enter such details each and every time you try and make an online purchase.
- The next step is relevant to you if you want to pay via credit card or a different card.
Just tap the icon that comes in the shape of an arrow which is pointing towards the right and appears right next to your present credit/debit card.
- Then you need to confirm the payment that you want to make.
Once you do and have completed everything asked of you, you should see the message Done with a checkmark on your device’s display screen.
- When that is done, you need to use one of the methods that we have mentioned below to verify your payment.
- If you have an iPhone X or something even better or have an iPad device that has the FaceID feature then all you need to do is to double tap the button on the side and then use the relevant passcode or FaceID to confirm the transaction.
- If you have an iPhone 8 or something older or an iPad device that does not have Face ID then simply use the passcode and/or Touch ID to confirm your transaction.
- For people who have bought Apple Watch, they need to double click the button on the side in order to verify the purchase.
- For people who have a Mac model that offers the Touch ID feature, they need to follow the presented prompts on their machine’s Touch Bar and then put their finger on the machine’s Touch ID itself in order to confirm their online purchase.
If you have actually turned off your Touch ID option then you have to tap the icon for Apple Pay which appears on the machine’s Touch Bar.
When that is done, you need to follow the on-screen instructions in order.
- Lastly, for people with various other Mac models, they need to first check if their Mac machine has a Touch ID feature or not.
If their machines do not have it then they need to either have an Apple watch or iPhone to confirm their online/digital purchase.
So what users need to do here is to enable the Bluetooth feature on their Mac and then ensure that they have logged in by making use of their Apple ID.
This Apple ID must be the same across all of their devices.
Which is safer? Credit/Debit card or Apple Pay?
Our research shows that Apple Pay is indeed the safer option if you have a choice between using a credit card/debit card or Apple Pay.
Now, by that, we do not mean Apple Pay is 100 percent hack-proof.
No online payment service is.
But Apple Pay does try its best to make sure users have the best chance of not getting hacked.
Apple Pay makes use of extra layers of online security for the user’s debit/credit card information.
Thus they make it easier and much safer for people to use the credit/debit card itself.
Maybe you didn’t know where you placed your phone when you left your office or the coffee shop or even the library.
Maybe someone took your phone.
In that case, if you have Apple Pay as the only payment method on your phone, that person would have to go through a significant amount of trouble before he/she can access your account and then take money out of it by purchasing something online.
What is the reason for that?
The reason for that is Apple Pay always asks users for extra bits of information such as their,
- Touch ID
- Face ID
We have already mentioned the fact that Apple does not really store any sensitive information on the user’s device.
It stores that on its own servers.
So any attacker or a random person will not have the option of confirming any given transaction.
This is absolutely vital if you ask us.
With Apple Pay, each time you want to purchase something online, the mobile wallet on your phone will create a completely unique code.
And that is the only code any given merchant will get to see.
Your actual debit or credit number remains totally hidden from the merchant that you are dealing with.
You can find plenty of sources on the internet to confirm that Apple Pay never allows the merchant to have access to the credit or debit card number of the user.
It doesn’t really matter if the user is paying via Apple Pay in a store or using it online.
The vital credit card information belonging to the user never has to travel the online world from the user’s device to the official merchant site.
This is what the director of mobile and Mac security firm by the name of Malwarebytes (the name of the person is Thomas Reed) told one of the reporters in the media a while back.
He also mentioned that if by a random chance, a cybercriminal managed to intercept the user’s vital data, the generated code is one-time use only code.
So the hacker will not be able to use the code again and again in the same way as he/she would if he/she had gotten hold of the user’s credit or debit card number.
Apple Pay allows users to suspend the payment service
This is another reason why we think Apple Pay is very safe.
If you simply change the mode of your device to Lost Mode, Apple Pay will get suspended.
That’s just how things work.
But in order to st things up you must enable the feature that says Find My iPhone on your Apple device.
If your device does not have the exact same feature, it is bound to have something else which does something similar.
So keep looking even if you cannot find the feature that says Find My iPhone.
If you do this, then even if you lose your device you will never have to go through the trouble of canceling any of your credit or debit cards.
The best thing about this feature is that you always have the option of reactivating your service if and when you find your internet-enabled device.
By now, our verdict should become clear to you.
Apple Pay is probably the most secure online payment method that you can use.
As mentioned earlier, we think that it is definitely safer than using one’s debit/credit card for the simple reason that Apple Pay makes sure that it is able to encrypt the information that is present on the credit card.
Apple Pay also makes sure that it does not share any kind of information with anyone.
And that includes the store itself.
It doesn’t even store any information on your device which is great as well.
Furthermore, the fact that Apple Pay offers users a good number of extra verification options before they are able to complete a given transaction means they have more protection than a normal user with no Apple Pay setup.
Use a VPN with Apple Pay
You can actually use a VPN service with Apple Pay.
But why would you want to do that?
Well, as you would already know by now, Apple Pay has plenty of security features and measures of its own.
But it never hurts to take extra steps in order to make sure that you have that additional privacy and security while you are doing your business online.
Now, when you use a VPN or Virtual Private Network, you need to make sure you turn it on before you are making the actual purchase.
With a VPN protecting your back you can make sure that no one is able to spy on you while you are trying to make a purchase online.
Your debit card information, as well as transaction information, will remain hidden even from your internet service provider and your government agencies.
A VPN service is able to provide you with that much privacy with the help of encryption.
A VPN encrypts your traffic and then hides your machine’s IP address.
Because of that, no hacker or spying agency can know what you are doing in the online world unless it wants to spend millions and millions of taxpayer money to track down the simple you.
And yes, your credit card information will still remain hidden.
With that said, while signing up for a VPN service provider you have to make sure that you make the right decision.
There are a lot of VPN service providers right now which would like to have your business.
Click here if you do not have the time to research for days on which VPN service is the best for you.
Our guide will talk about the best VPN service providers available in the world right now not just for Apple Pay protection but also for unblocking content from various streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.
We are aware of the fact that a lot of sites want you to go with the big names in the industry but we do not think that is the right approach.
The right approach is to read about the best that the industry has to offer and then try and match that with what you want.
The VPN service should serve your needs rather than the other way around.
On that note, this is exactly what our guide does as well.
Apart from that, you do not need to be paranoid about signing up for a VPN service.
Just keep in mind that the best VPN is the one that provides the most security and not the one which is the fastest.
Any VPN service that does a good job of protecting your online data is the one that is sufficient for your Apple Pay needs.
Good VPN services reroute the user’s connections to one of their own secure VPN servers and then encrypt the user’s data.
Then such services provide the user with a new IP address which further strengthens the user’s privacy and online security.
Your new IP address will depend on the location of the VPN server that you connect to.
Once you use a VPN service to do that, you will look like you come from that specific country even though you are physically someplace else.
This is the reason why you need to be wary of all the other gimmicks that VPN service providers try to play on new VPN users and stick to privacy and security features that a specific VPN service is offering you.