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How to Ensure the Security of a P2P Payment App?

Alekh Verma | February 8, 2023
P2P payment app

From cash to cashless, we all are going through a digital world where eCommerce, retailers, companies, and businesses are adopting mobile payment apps more than ever to allow consumers to make payments in real-time.

Today, businesses and consumers are enthuastically using P2P payment app technology to send money through mobile phones. People can now transfer money from their smartphones to their friends, family, relatives, or others anytime they want. This is because of P2P payment app technology.

But technology always comes with some challenges that need to be cared of seriously. When a person transfers his or her money using a P2P payment app, he or she only expects a safe and successful transaction.

If you are among P2P payment service providers or users, you know how much security of the app matters. PayPal, Venmo, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Cash App are the world's famous and most trusted mobile payment apps because of the high payment security they provide to users.

So if you are thinking to develop a P2P payment app, you must know at first how to ensure the security of a P2P payment app so that users never stop using your app and you achieve your business goals.

In this blog, we will talk about specifically what security features you should consider during the development stage and show you the best security measures which are followed by popular P2P payment apps.

What is a P2P payment app?

P2P payment app is a system or mobile payment application that allows users to send money from their mobile device through a linked bank account or card to another person. Therefore, it is called a Peer-to-Peer or Person-to-Person payment app.

Mobile payment apps are booming. Businesses are adopting this payment method to allow their customers to make easier and faster transactions and seamless shopping experiences. The market report suggests that by 2021, the volume of mobile payments in the USA will surpass $300 billion.

What risks can a user face when transferring money?

Money transfer via an app is basically sending your sensitive information to the World Wide Web (www) or the Internet. It means a P2P payment app is putting the user's important data at risk.

When information is transmitted through a mobile application, there are some certain coding and encryption techniques enabled into the app to eliminate the potential risk during payment.

Therefore, developers should be aware of the current practices to how to ensure mobile app security. To help you, here are mainly three risks which must be taken into consideration:

  1. The risk to lose confidentiality or privacy: It means protecting user's confidential information from unauthorized aces or hacking.
  2. The risk to lose integrity: It is known as the accuracy of the data received, protection from changing, manipulating, and hacking.
  3. The risk to lose availability: It means the right working of the app or user's device, which might be interruptions in connections or malfunctioning in the device.

This confidentiality, integrity, and availability create a "holy trinity" of information security which is popularly known as the CIA model.

Therefore, the security measures of your P2P mobile payment application should be entirely focused on this CIA model. Most mobile app development companies in India follow this model in their app security. These features are extremely beneficial for companies, businesses, and developers who want to assure their users a completely safe peer-to-peer money transfer from their app.

How to ensure the security of a P2P payment app?:

1. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

This is a two-layer security feature that is mostly used in user authentication processes while login process. Sometimes, the app offers users to generate a unique answer to the question of their choice (mother's maiden name, etc.) and asks this question when there is an attempt to access the app or execute some operation in the app.

2. Data encryption

It is one of the top methods to secure mobile payment transfers. Data encryption basically encodes information in such a way which only those with access keys can decrypt it.

The key could be whether in the form of encrypted mode, binary data, a passphrase, or even a hardware dongle. There is symmetric cryptography, which utilizes the same key to decrypt and encrypts a message, and asymmetric cryptography,

3. Transport layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets layer (SSL)

Both security protocols use asymmetric encryption for authentication, symmetric encryption for confidentiality, and message authentication codes to secure message integrity.

iOS application development mostly follows these TLS and SSL to provide strong security in their iOS app as Apple users are notorious for quickly abandoning apps if they found any flaw in user privacy protection.

SSL allows P2P payment applications to interact without fear of spying and outside interference. When a user through an application wants to interact with another application (server), the app opens a socket connection to the server and establishes a secure network connection. During this interaction, the server identifies itself to the user's application.

When authentication is completed and a safe connection is established, both applications can interact securely with each other. These protocols are not only used for messengers like WhatsApp but also to protect money transfer apps; because sending money via the Internet could be considered a sensitive data exchange.

4. Blockchain technology

Blockchain is an emerging technology trend in the mobile app development industry. With the use of blockchain techniques, you can solve information security problems. It ensures the immunity of the data placed anywhere, or at least extensively complicates attempts to modify it).

Blockchain is a series of blocks that write the broker's blockchain data into a hash with reference to the clock predecessor. These blocks are stored anonymously by all involved parties that eliminate the centralized vulnerability points of cryptocurrency trading used by fraudsters.

Each P2P network node has its own real-time database which consistently updates data and has a current data snapshot at the current time. Each node of the network has its own block in a chain.

If all network nodes accept a block, then it is recorded in a chain. In this way, blockchain technology helps developers to ensure the security of payment or authentication operations in the Peer-to-Peer payment app.

Android application development company reports that blockchain is playing a significant role in the app development industry because it allows them to create multiple layers or stages of authentication and security checks.

There are many various methods to secure the information on the blockchain. For example, to sign every block of data with a cryptographic signature, if the signature is changed on one block, it will not be changed all across the nodes in the P2P payment app. Blockchain reduces the single authority access that makes it hard for anyone to hack something written in the distributed ledger.

5. Offer a Unique ID/OTP

Every mobile payment app must send a unique ID or OTP (one-time-password) each time whenever the user makes payment so that the user can verify it before any amount gets deducted from their mobile wallet or bank account. It is the most popular security step followed in all P2P payment apps.

These are the top security features or measures which are highly used during the app development process. But as technology has no boundaries, makers or P2P payment app should also see how the most popular money transfer apps are implementing different security measures. 

PayPal

PayPal uses multiple security features to ensure the full safety of all transactions:

Email confirmation: Every time when a user sends or receives a PayPal payment he or she gets a confirmation email. PayPal gives detailed information on how an authentic email from them will look like so that users won't become victims of fraud or scams.

PayPal Security Key: Along with password, PayPal app asks users to enter an OTP (One-time password or pin) for each login attempt, which is a temporary security code sent via SMS.

Data Encryption: As per PayPal's documentation, they use multiple methods of end-to-end encryption like TLS. When a user register or logs into PayPal account (either from a computer or mobile device), the system ensures that connection is made with TLS 1.0 or higher

Data Protection: PayPal uses a set of methods including PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and regular security reviews by independent organizations. 

Venmo

Venmo utilizes the same features as PayPal, along with an additional set of security layers. It recommends setting up multi-factor authentication and using a PIN code in the app. If this feature is enabled, the Venmo app will ask for the PIN every time it is opened. There are mainly three kinds of security setting in the app:

Public: The transaction can be shared in Venmo public feed which is visible to anyone on the Internet. This option is set by default, although the amounts are not listed

Friends only: Sharing with Venmo friends only

Private: Information is shared on the user's feed only

However, users can change the privacy setting for every payment and purchase. There is also an option to 'hide' transaction history either making them completely private or available for friends only. Another security layer is an opportunity to receive a unique code that assures that the person to whom Venmo user has transferred the money is an intended or right recipient.

OFX

OFX uses the following security measures:

Identity protection: This app puts passwords, security questions, and other sensitive information including automatic time-outs in one safe place to keep the user's account secure.

Fraud prevention: The OFX "fraud system" utilizes a multi-layered approach to detect phishing, malware, and fraudulent apps. 

Cash App

Cash app has safety features, robust encryption, and fraud detection technology to ensure user information and money is safe like:

Account Notification: It sends alert in the form of push notifications, emails, and text messages to users regarding any account usage

Encryption: Cash app claims to have PCI-DSS level certification that protects user's information

Fraud Security: It secure user from unauthorized charges

Disable: Users can disable their card spending immediately when they leave it somewhere.

The Final Words

P2P payment apps are becoming more popular and increasingly used by users around the world. Therefore, it becomes highly important for mobile payment service providers and developers to ensure the full security of their

P2P payment app if you want to make your app successful in the market. Any single or minor issue may occur into a big loss not only in brand reputation but also in gaining the desired ROI.

At eSearch Logix, we have a team of certified app developers who can develop a P2P payment app with advanced security features. Our developers hold immense hands-on experience in what does it take to build a perfect mobile payment app that performs up to its highest potential.

If you got an app idea or have a project in mind, feel free to discuss it with our team. Just write in the below comment box and we promise to get in touch with you within 24hour.

Alekh Verma

CEO and Founder at eSearch Logix Technologies!

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