4 Tips To Stay Safe When Using Payment Apps

A recent survey from SimpleTexting, an SMS marketing platform, found that 60% of respondents favor payment apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Google Pay over cash to pay back family and friends. 

With the diversity and popularity of payment apps on the rise, US News My Money offers four tips to protect your privacy and money when using these services.

Make A Strong Password

A strong password is the first step in keeping your data safe. It should include letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use words or phrases that others can quickly figure out, and make a new password for all of your online accounts. And of course, don’t share your password with anyone.

In the same vein, you should always set up two-factor authentication when you have the option. The app will send you a code through text or email that you have to type in before logging into your account or transferring money. 

Many people don’t use two-factor authentication because they think it is an inconvenience, but it’s a small price to pay for your security and peace of mind.

Read The Privacy And Payment Dispute Policies

Each payment app might have its own rules regarding privacy and payment disputes, so it’s essential that you read the fine print. You want to understand how (or if) a particular service can help if a payment dispute occurs.

For example, PayPal has a strong payment dispute policy since vendors commonly use it. However, since Venmo and Zelle are primarily intended for sending money to people you know, they don’t offer the same degree of security. 

Also, check the type of data the app collects and if you can change any permissions. If you aren’t satisfied with a certain app’s policies, consider using another service.

Connect A Credit Card

If you have a credit card, consider linking it to your payment app instead of your bank account or debit card. If a thief hacks your account, they won’t have direct access to the money in your bank, and you can contact your credit card issuer to help resolve the problem.

Keep Your Payments And Info Private

Venmo gives you a Facebook-style newsfeed that displays other peoples’ transactions, which not everyone may be comfortable with. It’s crucial that you check your settings to limit the information the public can see as much as possible.

Rachael Vrabec, the founder of digital privacy service The Kanary, told US News My Money, “Even when your account is set to ‘friends,’ that means friends of friends can see your exchanges. Payment information can seem harmless, but it never hurts to have an extra layer of privacy around who you’re sending money to and receiving money from.”

Similarly, you should consider limiting the amount of personal information you enter on a payment app. Do you really need to set up a profile picture and give your phone number? 

Vrabec recommends making a fake name for the app as well, “Since PayPal is a big target for hackers and has been breached in the past, consider setting up an alias email address (to register your account) that forwards information to your primary email.” 

If hackers get into your account, they won’t get your main email address, which is probably linked to other services and accounts as well.


  • LaPonsie, Maryalene. “11 Ways to Use Venmo, PayPal and Other Payment Apps More Wisely.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 7 Oct. 2020, money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/how-to-use-venmo-paypal-and-other-payment-apps-more-wisely. 

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