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Cash to Cash-free: Best Practices for Digital Payments

Cash-free economies are nothing new. When was the last time you carried cash?  Hard currency? Maybe a few coins or dollars here or there, but most transactions are made via payment cards. And now, with the rise of digital payment platforms, paying digitally is becoming more commonplace.

While this shift is global, one country is experiencing a currency revolution. India is feeling the pressure to go cashless and embrace digital payment technologies.

Demonetization Steers India Toward Digital Payments

In late 2016, the Indian government announced what it called “Demonetization,” which makes all 500- and 1,000-rupee currency notes invalid. It was a move by the government to modernize commerce and move to a cashless economy.

The Indian economy has been primarily cash-based. A Google India and Boston Consulting Group study found roughly 75 percent of monetary transactions in India are made in cash, while cash is used in only about a quarter of transactions in countries like the US, Japan, France and Germany.

The invalidation of the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes has sparked a surge in digital payments across India. For example, ICICI Bank has seen debit card transactions double, while credit card transactions have swelled by 40 percent.

At the same time, use of e-wallet services like Paytm, MobiKwik and Oxigen grew 271 percent, with market leader Paytm boasting an increase in transactions of more than 300 percent.

The demonetization of India is also prompting citizens to examine using Bitcoins. India’s leading Bitcoin company, Unocoin, said its average number of daily website visitors spiked from 4,000 prior to demonetization to 14,000 after the intiative was announced. Bitcoins require uses to share bank account details and undergo a “know your customer” process to start leveraging the online currency.

As the digital payment revolution gains momentum, Indian citizens are concerned about the security of these platforms, as a rapid surge in their use could be an enticing target for threat actors.

Best Practices in a Cashless Economy

As with most cyber security strategies, digital payment platforms are safe when they are properly secured. With that in mind, A10 Networks offers best practices to ensure your payment options stay safe, and your money stays out of the hands of attackers.

  • Always use two-factor authentication to access your online and digital financial information. Adding in this extra step, beyond a simple username and password, will make it harder for threat actors to gain entry to your accounts. If the app or site doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, strongly consider using another service.
  • If available, use biometric security measures, such as fingerprint identification. This will help ensure that only you can access your money and user your device or application for payment.
  • Consider token-based authentication to better keep data and information hidden.
  • Be diligent about device safety and security. If you’re using your device to pay, ensuring that device is secure is imperative. Exercise caution when surfing the Web on your device by not clicking on suspicious websites or opening emails that could contain phishing attacks.
  • Do not respond to emails and phone calls with personal financial details to emails or calls from your financial institution.
  • Only use online payment application providers that encourage strong password use by customers.
  • Trust providers that ensure they protect their networks from the threat of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to prevent their payment services being knocked offline by a massive attack.

Those are just a few best practices to pay attention to when navigating this new cashless, digital economy.