Is Apple Pay Safe?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to prefer contactless payments over cash. More and more people are using their iPhones to make contactless payments with Apple Pay. But can you really trust him? After all, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your financial information.
Here’s what you need to know about Apple Pay, and if it’s secure enough that you can link your credit or debit card to your iPhone.
What is Apple Pay?
Apple Pay is a digital payment system that allows users to purchase items or transfer money using their Apple devices linked to their credit or debit cards. This saves the hassle of carrying cash or debit and credit cards as your iPhone or Apple Watch can make all contactless payments.
Apple Pay is currently available in over 20 countries and can be found in the Wallet app on any Apple device, including iPhones, iPads, watches, and Macs.
Does Apple Pay store your credit card details?
How does Apple Pay work? When you first set up a card with Apple Pay, it asks for your card number, expiration date, and CVV code to verify the card with your bank. This is only a one-time thing for authentication, and the details are not stored with Apple. Apple Pay therefore does not share this information when you make a transaction.
Instead, it uses a process called “tokenization,” which creates a unique access code every time you make a transaction.
Additionally, Apple Pay also requires additional verification, such as Touch ID or Face ID before finalizing a purchase. This way, it can often protect your financial information better than credit cards.
Apple does not store or access the original credit, debit, or prepaid card numbers that you use with Apple Pay. Because your card information is not stored on your devices or on Apple’s servers, none of this information is shared with retailers.
The contactless payment system also prevents your information from being slipped through a skimming device.
Apple Pay itself has no spending limits; however, stores and retailers may impose a contactless limit which generally depends on the laws of each country. For example, you might need to provide a signature for purchases over $ 50 in the US when using Apple Pay.
Likewise, the general limit for Apple Pay transactions in the UK is £ 100 (GBP). Apple maintains a comprehensive list of possible limitations by country through which you can go.
How secure is Apple Pay’s express transit system?
No payment system is 100% secure, and each has its own vulnerabilities and flaws. That being said, Apple Pay is still pretty secure.
However, some researchers at the University of Birmingham and the University of Surrey have found a potential fault in Apple Pay’s VISA Express Transit system.
The Express Transit system allows users to pay for transit systems without authenticating the payment using Face ID or Touch ID as they normally would for any other transaction. This is intended to reduce the entry or exit times of transit gates. To do this, simply place your device on the contactless reader, which automatically authenticates the payment.
Researchers managed to trick the iPhone into believing it was communicating with a transit door when it was actually a payment reader used by stores. This was done by identifying a unique code broadcast by transit barriers or turnstiles, which was then used to interfere with signals between the iPhone and a store card reader.
Interestingly, the flaw was only found on VISA cards configured with Express Transit mode. Researchers have warned that the issue could be exploited to transact from an iPhone into someone’s purse or pocket without their knowledge.
Researchers say they have approached Apple and Visa to raise concerns, but the issue has not been resolved at the time of writing. Visa believes this type of attack was “impractical”:
“Variants of contactless fraud schemes have been studied in the laboratory for over a decade and have proven impractical to perform on a large scale in the real world.”
Apple’s point of view on the case was similar:
“We take any threat to user safety very seriously. This is a problem with a Visa system, but Visa does not believe this type of fraud is likely to occur in the real world given the multiple layers of security in place.
There is no evidence that this method is used in the real world by criminals to make unauthorized payments or defraud consumers.
What are the banks saying?
Banks have generally reaffirmed their confidence in Apple Pay, with many having public web pages to support the payment system.
Barclays, a UK-based international bank, says Apple Pay is very secure because it uses a unique device account number. However, it further recommends protecting your card by choosing a device password that only you know and storing your fingerprint in Apple Pay.
How to protect your Apple Pay
Apple Pay is a highly secure payment method for in-store, in-app and online purchases. But even its advanced approach to data security won’t be effective if you don’t use common sense and remember best practices in financial transactions.
Never transfer money to unfamiliar websites and never make payments at suspicious outlets. And always check the payment amounts before tapping your device. This should help keep your money safe and allow you to get the most out of contactless payments.
In case you believe you have been scammed or an unauthorized amount has been deducted from your account through Apple Pay, be sure to confirm it from the Wallet app transaction list and then contact your list to have the transaction canceled.
Is Apple Pay secure?
Apple Pay is one of the newer contactless payment technologies, and it makes sense that some are skeptical about its security. We believe the system is very secure, and this has been proven by the eagerness of banks to embrace the technology and the expansion of Apple Pay in many countries around the world.
Other wallet activities such as Apple Cash have also proven to be safe.
Much of the security of Apple Pay depends on how you use it. So focus on using it with caution, awareness, and care, and you should be fine.
No matter how secure Apple Pay is, you should always turn it off if your iPhone or Apple Watch goes missing.
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