Digital transactions have grown exponentially over the last two years. Increasing popularity of the United Payments Interface (UPI) via smartphones has been the driving force behind a surge in digital payments. Being fully regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), UPI money transfers have become reliable and smooth, registering a record 3.65 billion transactions through UPI this September worth Rs 6.5 trillion.
The ease of transacting via your mobile also demands alertness. Since your mobile acts as a virtual money wallet, it can also be a soft target for financial frauds who wait for you to drop your guard and try to steal your money. Therefore, it is crucial to be cautious and adhere to safety tips while using mobile apps facilitating financial transactions.
Here are the seven simple but important safety measures you should undertake regularly while using UPI apps.
Keep UPI Access Secure
The only thing related to your UPI that you should share is your UPI address, which could either be your phone number, your QR code for receiving payments, or your Virtual Payment Address (VPA, or yourname@yourbank). You should not share anything else. You should not allow anyone to access your UPI account via a payment app or your bank app. You can set a strong phone screen lock password and also enable a payment PIN. While keying your pin details or unlocking your UPI app, make sure it is not visible to anyone. If you doubt that details are exposed, consider an immediate change of the password and PIN details.
Restrict Screen Sharing Or Recording Apps
Screen sharing apps must not be given access to your UPI applications. Some unverified apps may lead to data leaks and your sensitive financial details such as your passwords and OTPs will be at risk. You can always go to the settings and disable blanket access for such screen-sharing apps. Restricting them ensures your financial details are not compromised.
Verify The Registered Name On The UPI ID
Before initiating a transaction, you must verify the receiver. Once your UPI app scans the QR code or you manually add a number or VPA for payment, the registered name of the receiver pops up on your screen. Before you let the transaction go ahead, it is always a good practice to ensure by asking the person whether the registered name is correct. This way you can ensure that the money is being sent to the right person. UPI transactions are non-reversible. Once sent to the wrong person, you cannot get your money back.
Stay Alert On Unverified Links Or Fake Calls
It is worth noting that you don’t need a QR code or UPI pin while receiving payments on UPI apps. You only need such credentials while sending money. Often, hackers either send you a link or give you a call and request you to download a third-party application for verification purposes. Never click on such links or entertain such calls. Remember, banks never call you to ask for your PIN, OTP or any other sensitive details. If you fall prey to such unsolicited attempts, you may end up exposing your finance credentials to unauthorised identities.
Prefer UPI ID Over Phone Number When Doing Remote Transactions
While sending money remotely, you should ask the receiver’s UPI ID or request the QR code for payments. At times, sending money using a phone number may not be prudent as there could be a possibility of you typing the number wrong. As a precaution, you may consider sending a test amount, say Re 1, to verify the transaction with the beneficiary before sending the total amount.
Avoid Using Multiple UPI Apps
One UPI app is enough for all your digital transactional needs. Since UPI provides interoperability, the payments are seamless across platforms, banks, or apps. There is no need for multiple UPI apps.
Keep The UPI App Updated
You should regularly install updates to your UPI app whenever such upgrades are available. Upgrades include security updates which make your app safer to use and make you less prone to security breaches.
In case of any issue with your payments or transactions, flag it immediately on the UPI app through the help centre. You can make your UPI experience easier by using apps that have low failure rate and work well with your bank.
(The author is CEO, Bankbazaar.com)