What is the most secure payment method? (We compare 6!) (2024)

According to a 2017 Gigya survey, 69% of users in the UK and Ireland are concerned about the security of their personal data online.

And that’s no surprise. The online world offers us a great many benefits: one-click shopping, food delivery and social media, to name a few. But the more we put our lives online, the more we are at risk from scams, hackers and data breaches.

When it comes to paying online, it’s only natural that we want payment information to be safe, secure and protected. And as a merchant, ensuring customers’ safety is key to building strong consumer relationships. Here’s what we’ll be covering in this guide to using the most secure online payments:

  • The importance of taking secure online payments
  • Most popular online payment methods
  • What is the most secure payment app?
  • Secure payment method FAQ

The importance of taking secure online payments

The 2020 lockdown caused an explosion in ecommerce and online services, making digital payments the norm rather than the exception. Online payments are convenient, socially distant and efficient - and are what allowed many businesses to remain open.

However, with online payments come more risks. Especially for the digitally inexperienced, paying online can increase the number of fraudsters, cyber-attacks and identity theft. If the appropriate steps are not taken, your customers can end up more vulnerable online.

Secure payment systems don’t just ensure your payments are at a lower risk of becoming subject to fraud, they also put your customers at ease and help bolster your company's credibility. By making sure you offer payments in the most secure way, you are strengthening the relationship with your customer, growing brand equity and therefore increasing revenue.

Most popular online payment methods

1. Credit and debit cards

98% of the UK population owns a debit card, which makes it the default payment option for most people when online shopping. With credit cards, consumers have the added security of the card network whenever making a purchase online. With debit cards, customers are not subject to liability, but can still rely on the card network to cancel their card if it gets stolen or they are subject to fraud.

As a merchant, credit and debit card payments are convenient and straightforward: most people have debit cards and know how to use them online. Visa and Mastercard payments are also some of the safest forms of payments.

By using a reliable payment processor such as Pomelo Pay, both the merchant and the customer are protected by the card network and as well as a certified and compliant payment processor.

2. Bank to bank transfer

Merchants can also request customers to pay directly through a push payment from their bank account. This is a common payment method for large transactions that need to be transferred manually. Although the customer is in more control, there are some other drawbacks to using a bank to bank transfer:

  • Customers need to manually input their details, which is cumbersome and time-consuming.
  • It’s a push payment, which means it cannot be recalled if there is an error (which puts it at a higher risk of fraud).
  • Although secure, neither party is notified when the payment is processed.
  • Although cheaper than a card payment, it is also slower.
  • Merchants often need to chase customers in order to pay an invoice.

3. Direct Debit

Direct debits are a popular payment method for merchants that request regular payments from their customers. Through a direct debit, you set up a mandate (like a contract), and then pull the payment from your customer on the agreed date. This is often more secure than a standing order since merchants don’t need to rely on the customer to remember to transfer the money.

Having said that, the downside is that merchants do assume the risk if the customer does not have enough funds in their account. In addition, most clients do not do direct debits for large B2B payments, and must manually transfer the payment.

4. QR codes

QR codes are an innovative, safe and secure way to accept payments. The process is straightforward: your customer scans a QR code with their mobile device, inputs their card details and pays online.

By using a third-party payment provider like Pomelo Pay, every transaction is tokenized and encrypted, which means that as a merchant you never access any financial details and no credit card information is stored on any device.

QR code payments are handy because retailers can print the code on a brochure, attach it to an email or display it on a website. This facilitates a secure payment method where no merchant needs to be present and customers can pay in their own time.

5. Payment links

Payment links are an excellent way to accept secure online payment methods without having to be physically present with your customer. You send a payment link to your customer so they can complete the payment in a secure location in their own time. You get notified the instant the payment is processed, and the money is deposited the next working day.

If you take payments over the phone, you can send your customers a payment link with Pomelo Pay via SMS or email instead of asking them to read their card number out loud. This secure payment link means you get paid instantly (no more chasing invoices!) and your customers feel safe when completing their payment.

6. Digital wallets

Alternative payment methods refer to any payment method that doesn’t involve cash or debit/credit card such as digital wallets. Paypal, Apple Pay and Google Pay, have exploded in popularity because they are easy to use and make payments seamless.

They can be used for mobile payments, online purchases and at point of sale terminals. They can be loaded with different currencies, have an array of security features and can be used for contactless payments.

Some customers prefer to use digital wallets because they feel safer not having to input their card information on a website. Mobile phones are less susceptible than desktop computers which reduce the risk of data being stolen.

Transactions are protected by the card company, payment company and shop which ensure that all transactions are processed safely and securely.

What is the most secure payment app?

Pomelo Pay is one of the most secure payment services on the market. Every transaction is tokenized and no financial information is stored on any device, allowing merchants to take payments conveniently and securely.

Working with a secure third-party provider like Pomelo Pay offers a number of benefits.

  • Provides an FCA regulated level of security which is certified PCI Level 1.
  • Outsources compliance and regulation to a third-party specialist.
  • Helps customers and clients remain safe and secure.
  • Brings credibility to your company and brand.

Pomelo Pay is the trading name of Appfleet Ltd, and we are regulated by the FCA and is Level 1 PCI certified. We are also a principal member of the issuer Mastercard, which means we are held to a much higher standard than other payment processing companies.

This is what allows us to work with large companies from all around the world that engage in high-value transactions such as house sales, B2B transactions and private engagements. With just a transaction fee of 1.49%, you can put your customers at ease by letting them know their personal data is protected and secure online.

Secure payment method FAQ

What is a secure payment method?

Debit or credit cards are generally regarded as the safest. If you are paying by card, it is important to verify that the provider of the payment gateway is a company who is regulated, and has the right accreditation such as PCI Level 1.

What is the least secure payment method?

Paying by bank transfer is one of the least secure methods. If you send money from your bank account to the wrong organisation or person, it is very difficult to claim it back from your bank. To avoid this, refrain from paying with bank transfer, and if you do pay, double-check that you know exactly where your money is being sent to.

If you choose to use money transfer companies or websites, make sure you understand the jurisdiction and regulations these companies operate under. You have to also check their terms and conditions so you are comfortable with how you are protected under them.

I won't delve into introductions, but let me assure you that I'm well-versed in the topic of secure online payments, backed by extensive expertise. Now, let's break down the key concepts covered in the provided article.

  1. Concerns About Personal Data Security:

    • The Gigya survey in 2017 revealed that 69% of users in the UK and Ireland are concerned about the security of their personal data online.
  2. Importance of Taking Secure Online Payments:

    • The 2020 lockdown led to a surge in ecommerce and digital services, making online payments the norm.
    • Convenience, social distancing, and efficiency are benefits, but they come with increased risks of fraud, cyber-attacks, and identity theft for the digitally inexperienced.
    • Secure payment systems not only lower the risk of fraud but also build customer trust, enhance company credibility, and increase revenue.
  3. Most Popular Online Payment Methods:

    • Credit and Debit Cards:
      • 98% of the UK population owns a debit card.
      • Credit cards offer added security with the card network for online purchases.
      • Using a reliable payment processor, like Pomelo Pay, ensures protection for both merchants and customers.
    • Bank to Bank Transfer:
      • Common for large transactions but has drawbacks such as manual input, lack of notification, and slower processing.
    • Direct Debit:
      • Secure for regular payments with a set mandate, but merchants bear the risk if the customer lacks funds.
    • QR Codes:
      • Innovative, secure way to accept payments; tokenized and encrypted for enhanced security.
      • Convenient for remote payments without the need for a merchant to be present.
    • Payment Links:
      • Allows secure online payments without physical presence; instant notification and next-day deposits.
    • Digital Wallets:
      • Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay gaining popularity for ease of use, seamless payments, and added security.
      • Preferred by some for not requiring card information input on websites.
  4. Most Secure Payment App:

    • Pomelo Pay:
      • Tokenized transactions, no storage of financial information on devices.
      • FCA regulated with PCI Level 1 certification.
      • Outsourcing compliance to a third-party specialist.
      • Enhances customer and client safety and security.
      • Builds credibility for the company and brand.
      • Principal member of the issuer Mastercard, meeting high standards for payment processing.
  5. Secure Payment Method FAQ:

    • What is a Secure Payment Method?
      • Debit or credit cards are generally considered the safest.
      • Verification of the payment gateway provider's regulation and accreditation is crucial.
    • Least Secure Payment Method:
      • Paying by bank transfer is mentioned as one of the least secure methods.
      • Difficulty in reclaiming funds if sent to the wrong recipient.
      • Caution advised when using money transfer companies or websites; understanding jurisdiction and regulations is essential.

This breakdown encompasses the key elements discussed in the article on secure online payments. If you have any specific questions or need further clarification on any aspect, feel free to ask.

What is the most secure payment method? (We compare 6!) (2024)
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