If you ask any payments pundit about what trend to watch in 2017, most will reply with one simple answer: mobile payments security.

Statistically speaking, in terms of how many consumers actually use mobile payments on a regular basis, the odds may seem stacked against this projection for the future of payments. But if you look at the investments of banks, retailers, and tech companies alone, it’s clear the future of payments is all about mobile.

But what businesses and consumers really care about is just how safe credit card information is in mobile apps. To better understand this, we’ll start by digging into how mobile payments security works.

 

A Deeper Dive Into Mobile Payments Security and Tech

The world of mobile payments was pretty quiet up until tech companies started throwing their names in the ring as serious mobile payments players. Even then, it’s been a slow burn.

One factor that likely played a role in mobile payments’ slow growth is consumer fear over security. Consumers are not only already accustomed to paying using cash, credit, or debit, the concept of adopting new payment technology takes time to settle. After all, consumers already have to grapple with the growing number of credit and debit card breaches.

But are mobile payments actually the safer route — particularly when linked to a mobile app? The short answer is yes, but it also depends on the security employed by the app developer.

The Secret (Security) Sauce of Mobile Payments

The key thing to remember about payments made using a mobile app is that credentials are better protected if proper payments protocols are followed. That’s because the technology embedded into apps that use mobile payments are already ahead of the curve.

Today, mobile apps that accept payments are offering the option to ditch credit cards and pay through a number of other ways. This includes options like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, PayPal and Visa Checkout. This is the case, for example, of popular mobile apps that have seen immense growth due to customer loyalty: Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

The success behind most mobile apps that store payment data has to do with combining three things that consumers value most: Security, convenience and loyalty. Because mobile apps that offer in-app payment know the value (ability to monetize) of getting customers to pay using their app, they are taking extra steps to ensure the same security lauded by mobile payments tech firms are replicated within individual app experiences.

This includes the tokenization and encryption of payment credentials (similar to EMV chip cards), and adding technology like TouchID fingerprint recognition and biometrics to confirm a legitimate identity. Beyond that, mobile payments made using mobile apps often rely on using the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which adds another layer of payment security.

And that’s just the tip of the mobile payments iceberg. New securities are emerging into the market almost as fast as the number of mobile payments players wanting to get their share of the fast-growing market. Now, it’s up to business owners to keep up with the trends. Choose a payment processor for your business that is ahead of the curve and looks out for trends that may impact your business.

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Anna Lothson is a content contributor for Payline Data. She previously wrote for PYMNTS.com, as a Sr. Content Producer, where she focused on financial services and payments innovation, fraud and security, emerging payments, and FinTech news, research and thought-leadership content across the payments industry.