Digital money is only as secure as you make it.
Payment apps are so delightfully convenient, aren’t they? From transferring important payments like rent or utilities to just splitting a pizza with someone, it takes out all the guess work and I.O.U.s. Venmo, PayPal, and Google Pay are so popular these days that a lot of places will accept payment right from the app. What a time to be alive. But as with all advancements in social technology, with convenience comes certain dangers; you need to be mindful of what you connect to these apps to ensure that your info stays secure. It’s not just your cybersecurity on the line, it’s your money as well.
When you’re setting up an account with Venmo or PayPal, make sure to create a secure password. It’s gotta be long, esoteric, and include letters, numbers, and symbols. The harder it is for someone to guess, the better. You should also turn on two-factor authentication. TFA makes it so whenever someone tries to access your account, they need to go through your phone number or email address.
When you receive money through a payment app, you have the option to keep it in a digital wallet on the app instead of sending it back to your bank account. This is mildly convenient, as it helps money transfer more quickly, but you shouldn’t keep large quantities of cash on the app. If your account is hacked, that money is going to be the first thing that gets stolen. If it’s only a hundred bucks, it’s not a big loss. Also, if you can, try to only link credit cards for payments, rather than debit cards or checking accounts. Again, in the event of theft, it’s a lot easier to cancel a credit card than it is to lock down your entire checking account.
Finally, watch out for phishing scams. I’ve been getting the exact same knock-off PayPal email a few times a week for the last three years. It always says something along the lines of “hey your account’s locked, click this totally not suspicious link to unlock it.” If you think there’s a problem with your account, contact the app’s support directly before you click on anything. Chances are there’ll be nothing wrong.