August 30, 2019

Security in the Age of P2P Payments

by Kevin Rouch, Albeit Weiker, LLP

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment accounts allow users to send money, using their mobile devices, from their credit card, debit card or bank account to another’s person account. P2P apps - Venmo, PayPal and Apple Pay to name a prominent few - have become synonymous with online commerce.

These days, fewer and fewer of us carry cash. CNBC reported earlier this year that three in 10 adults say that they don’t make a cash transaction in an average week. As an increasing number of us migrate to this new world of payments, the question becomes: are they secure? Going a step further, how can small businesses safeguard themselves if they decide to accept P2P payments?

Like any business done online, scammers and hackers can penetrate accounts and take any money they find. Overall, P2P apps are safer than using your credit card, debit card or bank account online. The person or merchant receiving the funds does not get the details of the source of the funds because the apps use encryption to mask the account numbers.



For small businesses, besides evaluating any fees that may be charged to use P2P services, it becomes important to educate themselves and their customers on the best practices for protecting payments. Here are a few important things to remember:

  • Do research on the security practices and general reputation of the P2P apps you want to use;
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever you can - ideally, a PIN combined with a biometric factor such as a fingerprint - whether it’s signing on to your device or using the P2P app itself;
  • Don’t click on email links requesting personal or account information;
  • Don’t make any transaction over a public Wi-Fi network; and
  • Link a credit card, rather than a debit card or bank account, to your P2P app because credit cards generally have stronger fraud protection.
It’s an ever-evolving payment world for consumers and small businesses. P2P apps, if used wisely, can make transactions easier and more secure.

Rouch
Link a credit card, rather than a debit card or bank account, to your P2P app because credit cards generally have stronger fraud protection.