Cash or currency is the easiest and most-practiced form of exchange from time immemorial. But the demonetization wave in India has triggered a surge in e-transactions or going cashless.
Now-a-days, most of us are aware of e-transactions and many of us use them in various forms, like net banking; selling and buying from ecommerce sites; buying travel tickets – airline, train, bus and even booking cabs online or via apps; doing online transactions – to make payment for electricity, water, telephone bill, prepaid phone recharge; using credit or debit cards; and more.
On an average, a normal Indian does e-transaction at least once a week.
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Out of those mentioned above, net banking, debit cards / ATM cards, travel cards, e-wallets, Unified Payment Interface etc. are the cashless and authorized e-payment systems available in the country.
According to World Payments Report, immediate payments have the potential to replace cheques and cash.
Now in the run for cashless economy, this dependence on internet for monetary transactions is bound to increase each day as digital payments provide a number of benefits, including but not limited to:
- Making operations immediate, convenient, faster, available and secure (if best practices are adopted).
- Curbing the use of cash transactions as a means of tax evasion, leading to tax collection being used for the benefit of the country’s development.
- Increasing consumers’ ability to be more aware and gather information about products and prices.
Now, we’ll discuss the best practices mentioned above, in detail.
Myth: Internet based transactions or online transactions are unsafe because of cyber and security attacks.
Truth: There are a number of reasons why security vulnerabilities arise in online payment systems. Secure coding, updating software timely, and increasing awareness about the security of online transactions among customers can bring about the much needed change.
Here are some tips or best practices that will ensure your online payment security and will help you keep the risks to a minimum:
1. Protect your computer against threats
- Get and install antivirus, anti- malware and antispyware programs from a trusted and reputable source and create a line of defense for your computer.
- Regularly install updates for your software as cybercriminals are endlessly inventive in their efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in it, but the software companies work tirelessly to combat these threats. Don’t forget to uninstall software that you don’t use!
- Put a protective barrier between your PC and the internet- the firewall and never turn it off as it increases the risk of malware infection to your PC.
- Avoid putting unknown flash drives to your computer, and use them cautiously
2. Use strong passwords and if possible use OTP during transactions
Use strong and different passwords for different sites and always keep them secret. Also, create strong passwords for the router and the wireless key of your wireless connection at home.
Make use of OTP for the security of online transactions as it lasts for only one session/ transaction and is considered the safest as it’s received by the user on his registered mobile number. Also, using a 3D secure PIN on a public WiFi can be risky, so pay through an OTP.
3. Ensure the use of Virtual Private Network
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) keeps your online information safe. Use of VPN increases your transactions’ privacy and security as VPN security model ensures confidentiality with sender authentication and message integrity by using encryption techniques and tunneling protocols.
So, you can add a VPN on your smartphone or your WiFi network at home. For a smartphone, you will have to download and install a VPN app and secure your web browsing session.
4. Look for the signs that show that your information is safe
Before you enter sensitive data, like your credit card details on a webpage, ensure that:
- The site uses SSL certificate that makes sure that all the communication between your browser and the website is encrypted. Signs of encryption include a green web address with https (“s” stands for secure) and a closed padlock in the lower left corner of the window) as shown below.
Make sure to notice that the link address starts with https instead of http or www.
5. Use hardware level security
Ensure security of payment processing on mobile phones also.
As per Qualcomm – the chipset makers, the wallets and the mobile banking applications in India are not using hardware level security which can make online transactions more secure.
They will soon come up with mobile chipsets that will verify user with PG via unique features such as phone’s Android version, device id, OS root kit etc, which cannot be duplicated easily.
When the need arises, developments take place. Such more developments that will ensure the security of your online transactions are bound to come.
At present, internet transactions are only as vulnerable as the cash transactions. Just like you take care to protect your cash from thieves, you also need to take care that you do secure online payments, and follow the steps above.
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