Here’s how to protect your mobile payments

Mobile Payments

As the drive to mobile payments continues to accelerate, South Africans need to take measures to ensure that their accounts are not compromised by criminals.

The price reductions of smartphones and data have contributed to an increasing appetite for people to explore mobile payments, but many challenges remain.

Security is a key concern and the virtual flood of hack attack news does nothing to help people feel comfortable about taking their financial transactions mobile.

But there is hope: Beyond having complex passwords for mobile devices and platforms, users can take specific measures to increase their mobile platform security.

“First off is to read the security policy of the mobile payment method you chose to utilise. Check if the cardholder data gets encrypted during the purchase process (P2PE),” Brendon Williamson, GM of Business Development at PayGate told Fin24.

“Any well-known mobile payments solution will state the encryption process within their Security Policy. If unsure, contact them and ask how the payment process works prior to using the service,” he added.


Reports indicate that hackers have delivered some sharp blows to the confidence of digital payment platforms.

Among them, a hit on US retailer Target, a massive breach on eBay, and the theft of 4.5 million records from hospital group Community Health Systems.

Williamson offers these additional tips to increase your security on mobile payments:

  • Always make sure you have downloaded the latest operating system for your device. This is a vital step as operating systems are continuously being updated with security enhancements.
  • When last have you checked the version of the mobile payments app you are using – the same goes for your banking app. By regularly updating the app you are ensured that you have their latest security upgrades.
  • You do get security software (virus detection) for your smartphone just the same as for your PC. You can investigate these and most likely download for free from your app store.
  • Always protect your smartphone with the use of a password and if the mobile payments app allows you to set a password specific to the app, do that as well.

As access to the internet in South Africa increases, many new users may be at risk if they ignore security, particularly when conducting financial transactions.

A number of security companies indicate that cyber criminals are intent on stealing financial information.