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Is it Safe to Pay Through Mobile Store Apps?

Learn how secure mobile store apps, like the Starbucks app, are when it comes to paying for your order through the app. It might not be as safe as you think.

Mobile payment apps for specific stores have become increasingly common. Think of the popular Starbucks app, or even the Dunkin’ Donuts app, where you can pay for your items through the app. For many smartphone users, this is a faster and more convenient way to pay. Mobile payment now represents more than 20% of Starbucks’ transactions, for example, and could represent more than 50% of transactions in the near future. You can see why: the Starbucks app allows you to see your card’s balance before and after a transaction, view available rewards, and view the status until your next reward, among other features. But just because a mobile payment app is convenient to use, doesn’t mean you should use it. Like with any payment method, there are still risks involved. Only this time the risks also include potential access to your smartphone data.

How Store Payment Apps Can be Unsafe

As store payment apps increase in popularity, they become a greater target for hacking opportunities. If you have your PayPal, debit card, or credit card linked to your account, a hacker could break into your account and gain access to your finances. At least, this is what happened with Starbucks app users not that long ago. In that case, hackers gained access to users’ accounts to reload a large number of online gift cards through a user’s payment options. Or, there’s the more old-fashioned way, where a lost or stolen phone can give a thief easy access to all of your payment information.

Read More: How to Shop Securely and Safely On The Web

Safe Practices for Store Payment Apps

As with all of your other online accounts, make sure that you’re practicing strong password-making habits, in addition to activating two-factor authentication. Also, it is safer to connect a credit card — as opposed to a bank account, debit card, or PayPal account — to your mobile store app, if you must connect a payment method to your account. If you can’t connect a credit card to your account, try adding cash to your account in the store.

Protect Your Device with PSafe

As a rule, you should always be cautious of which apps you download from the Play store. Many malicious apps are designed to mimic current popular apps. These malicious apps can be downloaded thousands of times before Google is able to remove them. However, there are a few ways you can protect yourself. First, be wary of downloading any app that seems suspicious-looking in design or requests unusual permissions from your phone. Next, download PSafe Total for your Android to protect your device against security threats 24/7.