The Safest Way to Use Your Credit Card – Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, EMV Chip
Last Update: 8/4/2016
In the beginning, there was cash. Then came credit cards, which were much more convenient...but also opened up new avenues for thieves, who could use your account just by stealing a credit card number.
Now, a whole slew of new technologies have hit the scene, promising better and safer credit card use. EMV chip cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay all promise you increased security combined with convenience. But which one is really the safest and fastest?
Old and New Technologies
Old-school credit cards store your account information on a magnetic stripe that you swipe through a card reader. This means that anyone who has your card has access to your account. It’s also possible for thieves to hack into a store’s data files and get account numbers for hundreds of users at once.
To deter thieves, stores can have you sign a receipt whenever you make a credit card transaction. In theory, this should stop a stranger from using your card, but in practice, it doesn’t do much. Most stores don’t require a signature for small purchases, and even for large ones, they don’t usually bother to check the signature against the one on your card.
New payment technologies have more sophisticated methods of blocking theft. They come in two main forms: EMV chip cards and mobile payment systems.
Facts About EMV Chip Cards
- EMV cards (short for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) store your account information on a computer chip embedded into the card.
- When you make a transaction, this chip doesn’t pass along your actual account number. Instead, it creates a single-use code to authorize the transaction.
- EMV cards, also known as chip cards or smart cards, are already the standard in Europe. Now, US card issuers are also making the transition to chip cards.
- As of September 30, USA Today reports, only four out of ten users had been upgraded to the new cards—and many businesses still didn’t have the new chip readers required to use them.
- The current generation of EMV cards also have an old-school magnetic stripes on them. That way, they can still work in older card readers. This legacy compatibility will be needed for many years, yet reduces security.
- The payment terminals used by stores, often have the ability to enable encryption but may not have them turned on, due to extra costs or complexity.
Facts About Mobile Payment Systems
- With a mobile payment system, you enter your credit card information into your phone or other mobile device.
- To make an in-store payments. you wave your phone across the NFC (near-field communication) reader.
- Like an EMV card, a mobile system creates a one-time code for the transaction, so your actual account number never enters the store’s records.
- You can also use mobile payment systems to shop online through retailer apps that accept them.
Dicks Sporting Goods has a Dick's Sporting Goods Sale Upto 60% Off - Extra 25% off, Yeti!, NCAA Hoodies, Jackets, Bikes. Extra 25% off discount on regular priced items. Free in store pickup, Free Shipping $25. Expires: 12/15/2019
Never on sale: YETI 14oz Rambler Mug in several colors $24.99 - 25% off in cart = $18.75. Free Shipping $25.
The North Face Women's Mattea Fleece Jacket $49.98 Free Shipping ($99)
- Up to 50% off select Adidas
- 30% Off Fan Shop With
- Up to 50% off Select Clothes
- Up to 50% off Select Footwear
- Up to 50% off select Bikes
NCAA Pullover Hoodies Duke, Ohio State, and more from $19.98. ($60)
50% off select Bikes - GT Men's Aggressor Pro Mountain Bike $334.98 Free Shipping ($670)
adidas Men's Accelerate Basketball Tank Top $13.97 Free Shipping ($30) - Various colors
adidas Men's Response Graphic Running Shorts $13.97 Free Shipping ($35)
Reebok Men's Flexagon Force 2.0 Training Shoes $19.98 Free Shipping ($59.99)
Posted: December 14, 2019 12:00 PM PST
$40 off $40 for Target Red Card Signup Expires: 12/14/2019
- 5% off at Target in store or online
- Free 2 day shipping on 100,000's of items
- Additional 30 days for returns and exchanges
Some restrictions apply. See below for RedCard benefits & program rules.
Posted: December 14, 2019 8:23 AM PST
Expiring Today: Fortress Mount TV Wall Mount for Most 40-75" TVs up to 165 lbs and 9-feet HDMI Cable $12.50 + Free Shipping
Amazon has a Fortress Mount TV Wall Mount for Most 40-75" TVs up to 165 lbs and 9-feet HDMI Cable, $12.50 Free Shipping $25 or with Prime. Expires: 12/14/2019 - Highly Rated at 4.2 out of 5 stars with over 1000 ratings.
- Universal Design Fits up to VESA 600 x 400 which includes most 40-70" (some 20-75") and perfect for 55 inch TVs that are up to 165 lbs (SEE IMAGE 2)
- Slim profile only 2.5" from the wall; Fits 16 and 24" Wooden Studs plus Masonry
- Tilts for Better Viewing and Reduced Glare, with 15° downward tilt and 5° upward tilt
- Includes a 5' High Speed with Ethernet HDMI Cable
Posted: December 13, 2019 11:47 AM PST
Rare, Macys Free Shipping Today - Extra 20% off, extra 15% off select sale & clearance items with Promo Code: SHOP - Exclusions apply
- Everyone get $10 Macy's Money for every $50 spent
- 40-50% off Boots & Shoes
- 70% off Flannel Bedding & Throws
- Women's Coats under $100 ($100-$245)
Sales tax in: Most States
Posted: December 13, 2019 11:43 AM PST
Columbia 60% Jackets, Outerwear Sale off regular price, using Promo Code: SAVE60DEC . Expires: 12/25/2019 9pm PT. Sign up for a free Greater Rewards (Free to join) to qualify and receive free standard shipping. Tax in most states. Shop Early for best selection.
- Jackets and more for Men, Women, and Kids
- 60% off is the discount off Regular price
Women's Icelandite TurboDown Jacket $139.99 after code. Free Shipping ($350)Promo Code: SAVE60DEC
Sales tax in: Most states
Posted: December 13, 2019 8:16 AM PST
- Add Harry & David Moose Munch Gourmet Popcorn 24oz. Tin to cart.
- Add of the following Harry & David Moose Munch Gourmet Popcorn 10 oz. Tin to cart.
- Checkout with SHOP25 for $15.94
Sales tax in: Most States
Posted: December 13, 2019 8:00 AM PST
Types of Mobile Payment Systems
Right now, there are three mobile payment systems on the market:
- Apple Pay. The Apple Pay system works only with relatively new Apple devices. You can use it to make in-store payments with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus, or with an Apple Watch that’s paired to an iPhone 5 or newer. (It also works on newer iPads, but only for in-app payments, not in stores.) Apple Pay works with most major credit and debit cards from top US banks; you can find a complete list of participating banks on Apple’s website.
- Android Pay. This system works on any Android device. It comes preloaded on many devices, but if your phone doesn’t have it, you can simply download the app from Google Play. Android Pay works with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards; participating banks are listed here.
- Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay, the latest addition to the mobile payment field, works only with Samsung’s newest devices: the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and S6 Edge+, and the Galaxy Note5. In addition, your device must be connected through one of the major mobile carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, or Verizon. Finally, Samsung Pay requires a major credit card from one of four participating banks: Bank of America, Citi, US Bank, and Synchrony Financial.
All the new technologies prevent hacking by keeping your credit card number hidden when you make a purchase. Even if hackers managed to lift the information from one of your purchases, all they would get is the one-time transaction number, which can’t be reused.
However, this process—known as “tokenization”—can’t stop thieves from getting at your money the old-fashioned way: by stealing your wallet or phone. Once they physically get their hands on your credit card, what’s to stop them from using it? The answer to that question depends on which technology you’re using.
EMV Card Protections
- Chip-and-PIN. In Europe, EMV credit cards use a “chip and PIN” system. You insert your card into an electronic chip reader, then punch in a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to verify your identity. This is the most secure way to use EMV. The Chip does not track your location although charging an item will get your location logged on your bill of course.
- Chip-and-Signature. In the US, most banks aren’t set up yet to process PIN payments. Instead, they check your identity with a signature, which often passes without examination. US card issuers plan to switch to a chip-and-PIN system eventually, but it will probably take two to three years.
- Online Shopping. EMV cards don’t offer any extra protection for online shopping. You can’t use the embedded chip to generate a one-time transaction code as you do in a store, so you have to use your actual account number, which could possibly be intercepted by hackers. With mobile payments, by contrast, tokenization protects you for both online and in-store purchases.
Apple Pay Protections
- Fingerprint or Passcode. When you use Apple Pay with your iPhone, you must put the phone near the credit card terminal and either enter a passcode or use the TouchID sensor to scan your fingerprint. Thieves can steal your phone, but they can’t steal your fingerprints—and a passcode up to six digits long is pretty hard for them to guess. The downside for online use is that apps need to be updated to support Apple Pay.
- Click and Scan. Apple Pay for the Apple Watch, however, doesn’t offer nearly as much protection. To authorize a payment with the Watch, all you have to do is double-click the side button before scanning the phone. So if a thief manages to snatch your Apple Watch, they can also get into your Apple Pay account.
- Find My iPhone. If your iPhone or Apple Watch is stolen, there’s a way to keep thieves out. Just log into iCloud and use the “Find My iPhone” tool to mark the lost device as missing. That way it’s automatically cut off from your Apple Pay account.
Android Pay Protections
- Unlock and Swipe. Unlike Apple Pay, Android Pay doesn’t require a passcode or a fingerprint scan to authorize a payment. All you have to do is unlock the phone and wave it over the NFC reader.
- Security Loopholes. Some newer Android devices have fingerprint scanners, but they’re not that secure. According to Business Insider, the Android scanners have security loopholes that make them vulnerable to hacking.
- PIN Protection. Fortunately, can set up a PIN-protected lock screen on your Android device. As long as you keep the device locked when it’s not in use, thieves can’t use it to break into your Android Pay account.
- Remote Lock. If your Android device is ever stolen while it’s unlocked, you can go into the Android Device Manager to remotely lock it and secure it with a new password.
Samsung Pay Protections
- Fingerprint or PIN. Like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay requires either a fingerprint scan or a PIN for every transaction. However, Samsung Pay only takes 4-digit PINs, which aren’t quite as secure as Apple’s 6-digit passcodes.
- Find My Mobile. Samsung doesn’t offer as many options for securing a stolen phone as Apple and Android. If you’re signed up with Samsung’s “Find My Mobile” service, you can use it to remotely delete all your payment information to stop thieves from accessing it—but then you’ll have to input it all again if you get the phone back.
The Bottom Line
All four of the new technologies are much more secure than an old-school credit card. However, some are clearly stronger than others. The Safest Way to Use Your Credit Card from best to worst:
- Apple Pay. The best of the lot, with all your transactions secured by either a fingerprint or a passcode of up to 6 digits.
- Samsung Pay. A close second, but its 4-digit PINs are slightly easier to crack than Apple’s.
- Android Pay. It may eventually rival Apple and Samsung, but right now the weaknesses in its fingerprint recognition make it a distant third. However, securing your Android device with a PIN makes it much safer.
- EMV Cards. Though they protect you from hackers, any thief can use a stolen one simply by faking your signature. And when you’re shopping online, an EMV credit card is just a credit card. Also validating an EMV seems to take longer in our local tests at several stores. Use the chip card reader instead of the magnetic stripe reader whenever possible.
- Regular Magnetic stripe Credit cards. They are easy to clone and steal for both in store and online use.