Despite an impressive performance since launch, Apple Pay is now reportedly failing to escape fraud–its raison d’être.
In fact, the rate of fraud with Apple Pay may be several times higher for some banks according to Cherian Abraham, a payment expert who works with banks and retailers on mobile-payment strategies. It is not an anomaly to see fraud rates as high as 6% with Apple Pay for some banks, as opposed to 0.1% when credit cards are used in their traditional plastic form. The figures varied from bank to bank.
Apple Pay employs a number of features in an effort to increase security and reduce fraud. Fingerprint recognition ensures it can only be used by the phone’s owner. Payment data is encrypted and stored on an “element” separately from the rest of the phone. And a one-time code is used for every transaction to ensure merchants can’t view customer data.
But the vulnerability lies in the addition of a card to the device. Fraudsters have exploited the process, adding stolen credit card information and successfully answering a series of security questions posed by the issuing bank. The questions posed by some banks are relatively trivial, such as the last four digits of a social security number. Such info is often easily acquired by fraudsters on their victims.
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Some banks have sought to counter the risk by tightening the verification procedure, but this potentially undermines the ease-of-use for which Apple Pay was envisioned.
Abraham specified that the issue may also be faced by other mobile payment systems.
Apple Pay reportedly charges 0.15% of the transaction amount to the issuing banks which, for them, is thought to be a worthwhile investment to prevent fraud.
The developments come at a time when mobile payments are undergoing a critical process of self discovery, and the merits of competing solutions like Bitcoin and others are collectively weighed.