A Safety Guide for Digital Payment Apps

Financial Advice


2 min. read

By: FCU Team

You’re at dinner with a few of your friends. To simplify paying, one person pays the bill. Do you pay the person back with a check or cash? Most likely not! Digital payment apps have taken the world by storm in the last decade, making it easier than ever to pay for goods and settle tabs. Unfortunately, scammers are always looking for ways to take advantage of the latest technology, and digital payment apps are no different. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe.

App Selection

It should go without saying, but make sure you’re using reputable apps! If someone is asking you to use an unfamiliar app, it’s worth taking the time to ensure its legitimacy. Check for reviews and search for news regarding the app. If everything checks out, you can feel comfortable using it.

Who Are You Paying?

Resolve to only pay the people, organizations, and businesses you know. This will help lower the chances of fraud! We’re aware folks use digital payment apps to conduct the business of paying for second hand goods on places like Facebook Marketplace. We will have a section below with specific tips about these kinds of interactions below!

Check, and then Double Check

An extra (or missing) zero is a disastrous mistake, and some apps don’t allow you to cancel once you’ve sent the money. If you’re prone to mistakes, having the recipient send you a request is a good way to take some of the responsibility off your shoulders. Still, make sure the amount being requested is correct!

Facebook Marketplace, and Others

There it is – the vintage chair you’ve been wanting for years – at a great price and decent condition. You just have to have it! You message the seller to see if it’s still available. It is, and the sale is on! There’s only one problem: the seller has had bad experiences, citing potential buyers who have not shown up to pick up the chair when they said they would. Because of this, the seller requests money up front. Uh-oh!

Too Good to be True?

It might be difficult at first, but learn to scrutinize online listings. Does a deal look too good to be true? Are there too few pictures of the item being listed? Ask yourself these questions and others before deciding to message a seller.

Goods First, Payment Later

We recommend paying for an item only once it’s in your possession. If a seller is being insistent, it’s better to drop the deal instead of risk not getting what you paid for. In terms of safety when picking up an item, use your best judgement!

If All Else Fails

Credit cards are still your best friend, if you can use them. With built-in fraud protection, credit card payments are much easier to reverse if there’s evidence of fraud. This is why many financial educators are insistent on using credit versus debit cards, as the former has fraud protections debit cards do not.

Slowing Down is Worth It

We live in fast-paced times. We’re always trying to get places faster, and that includes making payments. Being aware of your finances, taking the time to analyze things, and practicing caution with payment technologies can only benefit you!