In the early 2000s, the United States began accepting contactless payments in credit card terminals that used NFC technology. However, it was still too early and it was not widely adopted until 2008, when the major credit card companies started offering contactless credit cards.
However, contactless payments continued to develop. Apple soon added Apple Pay in 2014, allowing you to add your credit and debit cards to the digital Wallet app and pay with your phone. There is also Google Pay for Android devices, and even Samsung has its own version of mobile payments called Samsung Pay.
Over the holidays, I was shocked to learn that my mother-in-law never used Apple Pay because she simply didn’t trust the systems. But the truth is that digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay are much more secure than using a physical card. And as we enter 2023, it’s time to ditch your real wallet for your virtual one.
Concerned about security? You shouldn’t be
I was amazed to learn that some of my in-laws don’t trust digital payments or wallets and think it’s worse than plastic itself. They couldn’t be more wrong!
The problem with a physical card is that someone can easily obtain your card information, either through the RFID installed on an unsuspecting payment terminal or the RFID. The latter seems less common these days, despite many bag and wallet manufacturers using “RFID blocking” as a selling point, but those skimmers can easily be installed in various POS devices without anyone seeing or noticing. If you swipe or put your card through one of these filters, a thief can get your card information and use it to make purchases, create fake credit cards, or even sell your information on the dark web.
When you use digital payments via Apple Pay, for example, you don’t have to worry about anything. Before you can even make a payment, it’s authenticated with either Face ID or Touch ID on the device. Additionally, each Apple Pay transaction uses a token in the form of a “device account number” to complete, and these are always unique. Since no physical card is required and a unique number is generated each time, your information is less likely to be stolen.
Of course, the concern may be that when you first set up Apple Pay, you have to enter your credit card number, expiration date, and CVV code for verification. But this is a one-time way to get everything up and running, and none of this information is saved to Apple or your device, so it can’t be shared with retailers.
How Apple Card takes it one step further
Ever since I got Apple Card in 2019, it’s become my primary source of payment unless I have another credit card that’s better for shopping. One of the newer features is Advanced Fraud Protection, and if you haven’t enabled this yet, I recommend enabling it. Go to the Wallet app, select Apple Card, tap Card numberand turn the switch on Advanced fraud protection.
When Advanced Fraud Protection is enabled, the Apple Card Security Code (CVV) changes from time to time. So if your Apple Card number and expiration date were hypothetically stolen somehow (eg manually entered online and the site gets a data breach) and someone tried to make a purchase with your information, they wouldn’t be able to because the CVV would have changed by then.
This feature was added in iOS 15, so it’s not super new and has been around for a while. Still, it’s a pretty small addition that has proven to be incredibly useful in the long run.
It’s so much more convenient
It took a while, but almost everywhere I go regularly now accepts Apple Pay, including Disneyland (where most of the money seems to go). I personally haven’t pulled out my wallet with my physical cards, at least voluntarily, in months. If I’m at a new place, I usually ask before I pay if they accept Apple Pay and sigh with relief if they do. Unless the system is down or they don’t accept contactless payments yet (like a sit-down restaurant), I never pull out my cards, and when I do, I’m frankly annoyed and holding my breath.
For me, Apple Pay and other digital wallets are just so much more convenient. However, I usually already have my phone in my hand, so when it’s time to pay, I just press the side button on my iPhone 14 Pro twice, authenticate with Face ID, then tap my device against the terminal and I’m done in no time. a matter of seconds. I hate having to dig into my purse for my wallet, take out my card, insert it into the reader and wait for it to be processed.
Apple Pay and other digital wallets are just that much more convenient.
Of course, Apple Pay and other digital wallets are only convenient if the places you visit accept mobile wallets. I still recommend carrying a physical wallet just in case, as my colleague mentioned a place they visited during the holidays didn’t accept Apple Pay anywhere.
It should also be noted that the minimum age to add a card and use Apple Pay is 13 years. However, in order to send and receive money with Apple Cash, you must be at least 18 years old. If someone is under 18 but can use Apple Pay, they can ask a family organizer to set up an Apple Cash account for under 18s as part of an Apple Cash Family account. And of course the Apple Card requires the applicant to be at least 18 years old.
Mobile payment is the future
I’m just a little surprised that some people still think physical cards are more secure than using Apple Pay or Google Pay. I feel there are too many potential points of failure for the security of just using physical cards, especially if you’re not paying attention. I also find it difficult to get it out every time you have to pay for something.
It’s time for more people to embrace the future of mobile payments. It’s much more secure with a device tag uniquely generated for each transaction, and Apple Card has additional benefits. Plus, it’s a lot more convenient—who doesn’t love convenience?
I’m just waiting for California to allow digital driver’s licenses in Apple Wallet and for mobile wallets to be everywhere. I still have a card holder with my card as a backup, but I don’t use them unless I absolutely have to. It’s time to (mostly) ditch the physical wallet!