Apple Pay is more secure than your bank card

By: Marawan Alwaraki, April 20, 2016
It seems like a lot of people aren't using Apple Pay (or other mobile payment services) because of security concerns. Below I outline the main security problems with bank cards, followed by reasons why Apple Pay is a lot more secure.

Side note: I only talk about Apple Pay in this post because it's the only mobile payment service I know enough about. Most of the security features in Apple Pay are also present in Android Pay, and the two work very similarly, but I just don't know enough about Android Pay to reach any conclusions regarding it. Also all my information about Apple Pay came directly from Apple's support website.

Now let's get right to it.

Why your bank card sucks:

  • If you lose your credit or debit card, people can use it for online purchases (in most cases, unless you have an extra security verification step).
  • Employees in stores can swipe your card on their own machines (check here for examples)
  • Hackers can intercept your credit card information online since you type it in the browser and send it over the internet. Also key-loggers can track your typing, etc. 
  • If you use a contactless card it can be used in store without a pin (up to £30 at one go for most UK banks).

You hear about it all the time. People losing money from their bank for whatever reason. Online banking and online shopping have been around for years and the number of hacks and thefts are very high. Don't take my word for it. According to the Daily Mail, a survey found that 56% of Britons have been victims of cyber crime and almost 20% lost money because of a fraud. The article is 3 years old, it is likely that those numbers have risen.

So now we know there's clearly a problem with regular bank cards, but how is Apple Pay better? What makes it more secure?

  • If you lose your iPhone, no one can make purchases without your fingerprint.
  • You can disable Apple Pay on your phone even if it's not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular services. So if a thief puts your device on airplane mode they still can never access your card information or make a transaction even if they somehow figure out a way to bypass the fingerprint verification.
  • When you use Apple Pay to make a payment, the store only receives the money, they don't have access to your card information. This is really important because:
    • Stores can't ever charge you more than you allow or steal your information for their own good
    • Hackers can't intercept your card info in online purchases
  • Your card information isn't even stored by Apple on their servers or on your phone, Apple only stores a portion of the card information. It creates a new unique device number (alternative to credit card number) that can only be used with Apple Pay. Your device number is stored with encryption on your phone and is never backed up to iCloud or stored on Apple's server.
  • No payment can be made from your iPhone without you authorizing it with your fingerprint.

How cool is that? Apart from the time you're adding the card to Apple Pay, no one has access to your card information anymore. Not Apple, not stores, not developers, and therefore not hackers either. It's actually really impressive how much work Apple put into making your banking so much more secure.

According to one survey, only 9% of Americans prefer to pay with cash. Another survey found that 100% of 18-24 year old Americans prefer to pay with a debit card (rounded up).

In a time where people are paying with their debit and credit cards more than ever before, it's really important for payments to be secure. I'm seriously impressed by how Apple Pay is infinitely more secure for both online and in-store purchases.

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