If you have a mobile wallet, your phone follows you to the checkout counter wherever your day takes you — whether it’s a latte run at your local café or a shopping spree at your favorite clothing store.

But it’s 2020. Digital payments are the least you can do from the screen of your phone.

Now, it’s a hub of financial activity. If you’re facing an unexpected emergency expense and need some help covering it, you can type something like apply for personal line of credit online into a search engine, and you’ll see your digital options for borrowing. Download the right app, and you can create a budget or start an investment portfolio.

The mobile wallet is a quick and convenient way to manage your money, but it’s not without its risks. Doing any financial task online opens you up to unique cybersecurity threats.

To make sure your personal information is safe, always follow these two security commandments:

1. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

When it comes to your mobile wallet, you want a few failsafes in case a thief hacks your password. This may happen even if you believe it’s unhackable. If your credentials are leaked in a breach, someone can use this information to access your accounts.

Multi-factor authentication requires more details beyond a simple password.

Generally, there are three factors, including:

  • Your password, PIN, or special lock pattern you need to open the account
  • A time-sensitive verification code sent to the phone number on file
  • Your biometric data, like a fingerprint or face scan

With each added step to verifying your identity, you make it increasingly more difficult for a thief to pose as you. Not only do they need to know your login credentials, but they also have to have your phone and understand how to fool biometric scanners. This ends up being too much work for the average thief.

2. Download from Credible Sources

As more people outfit their phones with mobile wallets, the number of companies offering compatible apps will grow.

Your responsibility is making sure the apps you add to your digital billfold are legit. Otherwise, you risk downloading malware that steals your precious data.

It doesn’t matter if you plan on searching for an online personal line of credit or using your phone to pay for rideshares. As long as you exchange financial information, you need to make sure your app offers digital security.

One way of doing that is by reading up on the app’s privacy or security policy. This section should tell you how they intend to collect, use, and store your data. If it’s missing, consider it a warning sign.

You should also be wary of how you add the app to your phone. Many companies provide a link to the download on their website. When you click this link, it should redirect you to Apple’s or Google’s app store.

If it redirects you to an unfamiliar website, this is another warning sign. Trust your gut and don’t download it here. Instead, find a more secure alternative that follows these rules.

Although there’s likely never going to be an entirely cash-free future in your lifetime, digital payments will become more popular. Having a mobile wallet that can tap into these options will make your life easier — but only if you protect yours with the appropriate security.

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