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Digital payments are more secure than cash, give other benefits

Jun 27, 2023, 11:01 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2023, 11:29 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Remember when check, cash or card were pretty much it for paying for stuff? Well, many older Americans do, and apparently fondly. Only, about one in three people ages 56 to 65 told payments firm Marqeta that they would be willing to leave their cash at home to use their smartphone to buy items.

Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree, said the rest of those people are missing out on a lot of benefits.

For one thing, just carrying cash is risky.

“If your cash is stolen, it’s gone, Schulz said. You’ve got nobody to call to get it back to you.”

With lots of stories about hacked payment apps, unauthorized money transfers and online fraud, Schulz said, yeah, it is tempting to stay away from digital payments. But a smartphone, he said, is much more secure than a wallet because you can lock it with a passcode and other security measures.

Even if they are able to get into your phone, there are still sometimes steps that need to be taken before they can use your credit card or other forms of payment that you have on that phone, he said. There’s a lot of technology that goes into those phones and a lot of steps and a lot of security.”

And the banking information on your phone is encrypted — scrambled — making it more secure than cash or checks.

Digital payments are easier to track than cash, Schulz said.

They are lightning quick. You don’t have to know your account numbers to check out. No need to dig out the wallet or credit card. It simplifies sending money to friends and family. And paying in cash, Schulz argues, could mean leaving cash on the table. If you’re using a cash back credit card, he recommends linking it to your phone’s digital wallet.

One-and-a-half, or 2% of $1,000 a month or more on that credit card adds up over time, Schulz said. And in a time of rampant inflation and rising interest rates and rising costs across the board, 1 or 2% back on your purchases can make a difference in your budget.

If you are planning to use digital payments, a few things to bear in mind: Only use reputable payment or digital wallet apps and update them regularly. Set up multi-factor authentication on all payment apps so if a hacker does get your password, they still will not be able to get into your account. Speaking of passwords, do not reuse them. And be on the lookout for shoulder surfers — prying eyes could be watching you enter your PIN or other private info.

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Digital payments are more secure than cash, give other benefits