We can transfer money from our bank accounts using our smartphones, pay our phone bills online by just swiping through our tablets, and even digitally spend or send money through a virtual currency called “bitcoin.” These new technologies are lifesavers: no more waiting in line at the bank, no more overdraft fees from spending on an empty account, and no more actually walking into a store to buy what you need.
However, as you’re taking a picture of your paycheck and e-filing it to the bank, there’s sometimes that feeling of uneasiness behind the excitement of a new convenience. Mobile payment has its drawbacks as far as privacy and data security are concerned, but knowing the advances in the mobile payment industry for 2014 can help ease your worries.
Mobile Payment Trends
Not all digital payments are created equal, so it’s good to read up on the latest banking trends before actually trying them out.
- Cardless ATM transactions – Avoid losing your card and dealing with buggy machines by withdrawing and depositing using just your phone. New technology is emerging this year that will allow consumers to make cardless transactions by entering their mobile phone number onto the machine and typing in the code from the subsequent text message. Type in your pin and your money is right at your fingertips, as MellonGroup highlights.
- Digital wallets – Paul Fiore, founder of CU Wallet, said, “2014 will be the year of the digital wallet for financial institutions. For consumers, it will be 2015.” Digital wallets can be used for both online stores and physical stores. You can even use it to verify your age while buying alcohol. The wallets are already big in Japan, and have tons of new features in store for the future, according to CUTimes.
- Mobile payment processing – What if you didn’t have to wait 3-5 days for your payment to process? This is the theory behind mobile payment processing, which allows businesses and everyday users alike to send and accept various forms of payment all through their devices. Intuit offers merchant services that syncs your payments up with QuickBooks for easier record-keeping. It comes with a free card reader for card processing, and lets users create personalized receipts.
The “What Ifs”
Don’t get excited just yet—there are a few precautions to consider when trying out these technologically-advanced services. Obviously, the number one concern is security. How can you know for sure that your credit card number isn’t floating around in cyberspace? Before trying any new service, be sure the provider is certified by at least one security authority like Norton.
In the meantime, make sure to load your device with plenty of security-enhancing apps. Apple’s Find My iPhone is a great basic choice because it gives users a Plan B in case of loss or theft. Using this app (accessible from any device), you can track its most recent locations, lock your phone from anywhere with a passcode, set up an activation lock to prevent your phone from being used or sold, and even erase all data from a remote location.
Lookout is another security app available to Android, iOS, and Blackberry. The free version consistently scans your device for viruses and immediately eliminates them. You can use the app to activate an alarm in case of loss or theft, and track your phone online using Lookout’s website, Lookout.com. Backup capabilities are another plus for making sure you never lose important info.