Rise in mobile payment apps inspires debate amongst East students, staff

The Wendy’s in Aurora is one of many local stores that have a Verifone to pay with several different mobile payment apps. 

Mobile payment apps have been utilized in recent years to establish a new and more efficient way to transfer money, and conveniently pay in stores. However, there is an ongoing question regarding these mobile payment apps: are they as secure as they are efficient?

Mobile payment apps were ultimately created to purchase things in a contactless way, by using devices like smartwatches and phones. Some apps that complete this job include ApplePay, Zelle, and others. These apps are mobile peer-to-peer systems, while there are several other mobile payment ways like SMS payments, mobile ecommerce, and mobile wallet.

People love the new modern way to pay, and find it more convenient and reliable to use the mobile payment apps. Since individuals struggle with forgetting their wallet, credit cards, and debit cards, using something that people often have on them at all times makes mobile payment apps an easy and accessible way to purchase things.

Senior Christion Robinson finds this new way of transferring money immensely efficient, especially when he’s in a rush.

“I mostly use mobile payments now since they are way faster than taking out your card or cash from your wallet,” Robinson said. “Since I’m already used to having my phone on my hand at all times, it’s way easier to just press it against the payment terminal.”

Easy access is not the only reason why people find mobile payment apps convenient; they are also essential for sending money to relatives from long distances.

Consumer ED teacher, Amy Regas, finds mobile payment apps an essential tool for staying connected with family and friends, such as sending money for birthdays or any celebrations, in an easier manner.

“I just love sending money to family and they receive it ASAP,” Regas said. “I can just transfer money to parties involved instead of writing out checks.”

Although mobile payment apps have several advantages, they are prone to several faults often arising from human errors like accidentally transferring money to the wrong person, or people luring others to transfer money into their account.

Junior Brianna Brown does not use mobile payments for this exact reason, and is not planning on using them in the future.

“I’ve just heard so many people say they’ve accidentally transferred money to the wrong person and not get it back,” Brown said. “I feel like in this case it’s just best to stay away from mobile payments until they become more secure.”

Since people are now relying on their phones to pay for things, their electronic devices have ultimately become their wallet. About 70 million people lose their phone every year, meaning that now, they are losing their wallets as well.

This gives thieves easy access to not only their personal information, but also their credit and debit card information. Although mobile payment users may argue that these mobile payment apps are secured by highly-advanced methods of encryption and tokenization, they do not protect phones from hackers or identity thieves.

While these mobile payment apps are very helpful, especially as many companies begin to accept these payments, it is important to remain cautious of what is being used and ensure it is being used responsibly.

“Everyone should make sure you’re using secure apps and monitoring your accounts,” Regas said. “Keep an eye on your accounts and make sure you have everything private.”

Itzel Gutierrez is a staff writer for Oswego East’s online news magazine The Howl.

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