Modi’s demonetization drive has given a major push to digital transactions in India. However, with the rise in online payments, frauds in mobile payment too are likely to increase.
A just-released ASSOCHAM-EY joint study says that with the surge in digital transactions via E-wallets and other online payment gateways, mobile frauds are expected to grow to 60-65 per cent in the country by 2017. This has become an area of great concern for companies as 40-45 per cent of financial transactions are currently done via mobile devices.
True, the popularity of mobile wallets or E-wallets is increasing fast as they make an individual’s day-to-day transactions easy by providing him the ability to securely and conveniently manage personal finances, fund transfer, purchases, and perform other transactions electronically. E-wallets can be loaded with cash directly from your bank account, and this pre-paid balance can be used to access a large variety of service providers who are using the same E-wallet platforms.
However, just as you would be concerned about the safety of your offline wallet, you would also want to consider all the pros and cons of having an E-wallet, particularly in the wake of rising cases of mobile frauds. How safe is your money in an E-wallet? What happens to failed transactions? What happens when your cellphone falls in the wrong hands? These are the questions which night be bothering you for a while.
Let’s examine here some of these risks and find out the ways of making your E-wallet safe:
1. Phone Safety: E-wallets turn your phone into money-carrying devices. This means that you must keep your phone in a safe place and be aware of its location at all times. “The device must have a screen lock and any other safety feature supported by its hardware, such as a thumb print recognition system. This would be an immediate deterrent to anyone who wants to unlock your phone to see its contents,” says Adhil Shetty, CEO, BankBazaar.com.
2. Password Strength: For all your online financial service apps for netbanking, trading, or e-wallets, you must enable a strong, complex password made up of alphanumeric and special characters, along with upper and lower casing, deliberate misspellings and use of words that don’t exist in dictionaries. This would be your second line of defense in case someone manages to unlock your phone and access your apps.
3. Low Balance: You can deposit up to Rs. 10,000 a month into your E-wallet account (without KYC), going up to Rs. 100,000 after completing your KYC process with the E-wallet provider. “It, however, may be wise for you to maintain a low balance in your E-wallet. This is for two reasons. One, you’re not earning an interest on the held balance as you would in a bank account. Two, in case your phone gets unlocked by miscreants, they won’t have a large balance to transfer from your account, and this would minimize your damages in that case,” informs Shetty.
4. Always Log Out: After using your financial apps, remember to exit them by using the logout function. Some E-wallets may keep you logged in after you close the app. The risks described in point # 1 come into play. Log out as a habit, and anyone misusing your phone will have to get past the login in order to access your funds.
5. Check Transaction Twice: You may have a two-factor authentication while using netbanking or plastic money. However, “E-wallets work as a pre-paid balance and there’s no confirmation screen or password prompts when you try to transact. Once you input the details of the payee and hit the “submit” button, the money is sent instantly. So check the payee details and the amount you’re spending twice before you release the money,” says Shetty.
6. Install App Locks: Specific apps can be password-protected through app locks. These app locks are available on the designated app stores for Android and iOS. Once installed, they’ll ask you to list the apps that you want to keep password protected. You’ll be prompted for your password each time you want to access these private apps.
7. Beware of Malware: Only install apps from designated app stores for your device. Avoid the urge to download and install applications from the web. This way, you would reduce your risk of getting a malware infection on your device which could lead to data theft. “While installing any app, make a point to check if it is authentic, has favourable ratings and no known security flaws. On top of this, it would help to have an anti-virus and anti-malware app on your phone to keep track of known security threats,” says Shetty.
8. Remote Wiping: Android and iOS devices come with remote access abilities. If your phone is stolen and is still connected to the Internet, you could access it remotely and wipe its memory so that its private data cannot be accessed by the thief.