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Alternative payment methods nowadays are a way to pay without using cash.
These alternative methods include credit and debit card payments for example.
With the advancement of technology, the way we make and receive payments has changed drastically, with the latest addition being cryptocurrency payments.
Businesses have also incorporated these cashless options of payment in their business functions. But customers might often be wondering how safe these are.
Popular Alternative Payment Options
- Digital wallets – the area of digital wallets is varied, with many options that come with their own advantages and disadvantages. As many as they may be, they all function the same way, and they offer you a prepaid digital account where you can store, send, and receive the money you can transact at online and physical retailers using these wallets. The most popular of these would be PayPal, but there are others such as Paysafe and Neteller.
- Cryptocurrency – crypto, particularly Bitcoin, is gaining traction as an acceptable payment method, particularly with eCommerce and online gaming. You would be hard-pressed to find a sports betting site like NetBet sports betting that does not have crypto as a payment method.
- Mobile Payments – mobile payments like digital wallets only need your phone, eliminating the need for a card or cash. Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay are currently the leading mobile payment options. Experts expect other mobile companies to board this platform as it’s convenient and works internationally.
How to Safeguard your Data when Paying
These alternative payment methods are convenient and easy to minimize the risk of carrying cash, but they expose us to cybercrime since they operate in cyberspace.
The most valuable commodity in cyberspace is data; with these contactless and cashless transactions, our confidential data is at risk. In 2020 alone, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports, a 45% increase from the previous year.
So how do we best protect ourselves while using these payment options?
- If you must use your credit/debit card, tap it rather than swipe it, this will ensure your card never leaves your hand. Fraudsters can’t clone or swap it. When paying online with your card, ensure the site has SSL encryption, and use an OTP that will be sent to your phone for verification.
- Set up multi-factor authentication for your mobile payments. Most apps, like Apple Pay, will request a passcode on your mobile. Still, you can set up additional safety features like fingerprint or Face ID.
- Constantly update your device’s software and your applications, this way, you will always have the latest security patches available, thus minimizing the risk of malware.
Advantages of using Cashless Payment Options
- For businesses using contactless cards, transactions are more seamless and processed faster, ensuring more liquidity.
- Payment applications like PayPal and Google Pay allow you to make transactions without passing on your data to the seller. This limits the number of merchants with your data and lessens the risk of fraud.
- As a business, you get paid faster, and transactions are processed immediately or within three days.
The convenience and benefits of alternative payments come with some trade-offs, and as a business owner, you need to plan for those. Alternative payment options are generally safer than cash, but also more trackable. Always ensure you read the fine print when signing up for mobile payments or credit cards, as this will ensure you mitigate your liability as much as possible.
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