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What Are the Most Secure Payment Methods?

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Last editedFeb 20232 min read

In today’s fully connected world, consumers expect a fast, easy payment experience. There’s a wealth of payment methods out there to meet this demand, from credit cards to digital wallets and cryptocurrency. Yet some are more secure than others – and for Australian businesses, protecting customer data should be top of the priority list. Keep reading to learn the most secure payment method online and off.

Why is payment security important?

Your customers have the reasonable expectation that their sensitive financial information will be kept safe when they make a purchase. With tools like end-to-end encryption and tokenization available to merchants, there’s really no excuse for not protecting your customers from fraud and identity theft. When a security breach makes the news, it erodes consumer trust in your brand, resulting in lost revenue.

What is the most secure payment method online?

For online payments, businesses have a multitude of options to choose from. Here are a few of the most secure online payment methods:

  • Direct deposit: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) protects direct deposit money transfers with the ePayments Code of consumer protection. If money is transferred to the wrong account by mistake, this code ensures the issue is corrected.

  • POLi: Run by Australia Post, POLi is a popular online payment method allowing customers to pay your business without entering credit card details. They use the secure Poli website to enter their bank details for easy transfers.

  • Credit cards: One of the main advantages of credit card payments is their security. They protect consumers with chargebacks and fraud protection.

  • Debit cards: With Visa and Mastercard, you can receive some of the same payback rights as other online payment options if you select ‘credit’ instead of ‘savings’ or ‘cheque’ at the time of payment.

  • Digital wallets: Payment methods like Apple Pay and PayPal are some of the most secure options on this list, storing card and bank account details in a secure, cloud-based location. They also provide the same payment protection as using the card on its own.

  • Open banking payments: Open banking shares data with third parties to facilitate easy online payments, with customers in full control of who gains access. It features very rigorous security features implemented by banks, and is held to the CSIRO’s Data Standards Body of data protection laws. This makes open banking one of the most secure payment options out there today.

What is the most secure payment method in person?

While electronic methods like open banking offer safe ways to pay online, what is the most secure payment method in person? There’s some crossover between online and offline payments. For example, digital wallets can be used in multiple settings.

  • Mobile wallets: By downloading a digital wallet app like Apple Pay, you can store all details on your phone for easy, contactless payments. There are many built-in security measures. For example, some mobile wallet apps require you to enter a passcode, while others use Face ID or fingerprint technology. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can disable it remotely.

  • Credit cards: The most secure credit cards use chip and PIN technology to encrypt your data. EMV chip technology encrypts data for a unique transaction each time, which helps eliminate the risk of in-person fraud.

Are there any payment methods to avoid?

Now that you know the most secure payment methods, which are ones to avoid? While no payment method is completely foolproof, some are riskier than others. Perhaps one of the least secure are money transfer companies. While some protect your money with measures described above, others won’t adhere to the same standards. This is because money transfer companies are located all over the world, where different regulations might apply.

The bottom line

Australian businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to secure payment methods. For online payments, credit cards, digital wallets, and open banking all provide up-to-date security features. Offline, payment apps and contactless technology provide a similar level of tech-enabled safety. As you search for the best payment methods to offer your customers, compare these features carefully. No matter the payment method, be sure to always read the fine print.

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