Can we trust the security of mobile payments

mobile payments

True, mobile payments have not become omnipresent yet, but they most likely will in the next few years. According to some reports, the use of mobile payments is predicted to grow 80 per cent until 2020. Should we trust the data, then we have to prepare ourselves for mobile payments, which will soon become ubiquitous.

As we get used to mobile payments, certain questions may arise. One such question touches upon the security provided by mobile payments. Of course, the encryption methods employed by different mobile payment apps may vary greatly and that is why we can not say how secure mobile payments apps are as a whole. Here, will familiarise you with three of the most popular mobile wallets—Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and PayPal—and we will also discuss their levels of security. But first, let us shed light on the mobile payment process.

The mobile payment process

Let us examine near-field communication – this is what makes mobile payments possible. So how does it all happen?

  • A cashier rings up your order and asks for payment.
  • You can either scan your fingerprint of enter a password to make the transaction authentic.
  • You connect your phone to the NFC-supporting PIN pad.
  • A chip within your smarphone transfers data to the PIN pad, completing the purchase.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is one of the renown brands in the mobile payment business. The app is very easy to use, making it a payment method that generates quicker transfers than the obsolete card payment method. Actually, Google Wallet works pretty much the same as Apple Pay, without the ID print scanning feature included in Apple Pay.

Users of Google Wallet can benefit from gift cards and loyalty rewards in the app store of the wallet. On the other hand, uses of Google Wallet are relatively limited as they require an NFC chip, which is still unavailable in most stores.

What makes Google Wallet one of the safest mobile payments are its built-in security features. Google Wallet relies on 128 to 256 bit encryption and heavy AES. Additionally, the mobile payment software has a 24/7 fraud protection and monitoring systems. If you lose your phone, you can disable your stolen device by logging in your Google Wallet account, available on any browser. What is more, you need a PIN code to utilise your Google Wallet, just like with a credit card.


PayPal allows you to make mobile payments. To make a transaction with PayPal, first you enter your mobile phone number (or email), and then enter a PIN code. What makes PayPal so popular is that it does not require a NFC or any other hardware to run. PayPal utilises a software which connects people to PayPal’s encrypted servers.

PayPal is regarded as a secure app as it requires users to enter a PIN each time they make a payment. Additionally, you can manage your bank account on your PayPal account using the app.

Apple Pay

Released in December last year, Apple Pay is today’s easiest way to make mobile payments. Customers in the US can enjoy this user-friendly mobile payment software which makes iMessage transactions possible.

Apple Pay app is reached through iMessage, allowing users to communicate with family and friends, as well as make payments while you chat. Another way to start Apple Pay is by asking Siri to pay to someone.

When you receive a payment, the money is added to their Apple Pay Cash card, which exists within the Wallet app. Received money can be used for another payment, and you can also transfer it to your bank account, too. Users can check out their transaction history as well as person to person payments. Store purchase history may also be viewed at the Apple Pay app.

To Apple, security and privacy are of vital importance. In fact, we have to admit Apple outperformed other mobile payment software providers, for they managed to design a mobile payment software that is not only easy to use, but also exceptionally secure, too. That is why every person to person purchase made with Apple Pay Cash has to be authenticated. On iPhone X this happens via face recognition. On older versions, users authenticate their purchases by Touch ID. Apple Watch works with a passcode.

Apple Pay does not rely on card numbers; instead, the app generates a unique account number containing a unique transaction-specific security code. The data is never shared with third parties nor revealed publicly, thus remaining secure.

To sum up, we can not say whether mobile payment apps are extremely secure. Like other payment methods, there are always risks. Last, but not least, do not forget that you should protect your account information.