Pros and Cons of Mobile Payments: Convenient or Security Concern?

Mondo Admin / 13-05-2024 / Tech

Cash, Plastic or Smartphones?

What’s your preferred way to pay for goods and services online or in-store? Chances are, you’re part of the rapidly growing number of South Africans who are tapping their phones to pay for everything from their morning coffee to online shopping sprees.

Ditching coins and cards for mobile payments looks set to be the way of the future, especially when you consider this eye-opening statistic from Mastercard: 52% of South Africans have utilised smartphone and digital tap-and-pay platforms in the past year alone!

If you’re considering joining the revolution or if you're already on board but still have security concerns, we've compiled all the pros and cons of mobile payment systems to help you make an informed decision.

Cash is king but mobile payments are the new cha-ching 

But before we dive in, here’s a brief overview of what mobile payment systems are, especially for the 'cash is king' and 'plastic is fantastic' folks in the house.

Mobile payment systems can be defined as the contactless method of paying for items using your smartphone, but it can also extend to your other devices like smartwatches and tablets. Payments are mainly facilitated through apps, such as digital wallets with the popular ones being Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Other popular mobile payment platforms are banking apps, third-party QR-scanning platforms like Zapper and Standard Bank’s SnapScan, and Mastercard Click to Pay exclusively for online purchases.

Here’s how mobile payments work using digital wallets as an example:

If you want to pay for goods or services using Apple, Google, or Samsung Pay, you’ll first need to link your credit or debit card details to your digital wallet. Once everything is set up and authorised by your bank, you’re ready to make in-store, in-app, or online purchases with just a simple tap, click, or swipe of your phone. And just like that, you have a high-tech bank card.

Pros & cons of mobile payment systems

Here are all the pros and cons you should consider before using your mobile phone to make purchases:


Dodge the death stares

You’re at the till, searching for your card or trying to find enough cash to pay for your stuff, only to realise you’re R5 short. Not only is the cashier giving you death stares, but so are the people waiting in line behind you. Now, your stress is through the roof, and you wish you stayed at home. Mobile payment systems eliminate this nightmare. All you have to do is present your smartphone to the point-of-sale device, authenticate the transaction, and bam! Your payment is processed almost instantly without the need for you to enter a PIN code. Most importantly, death stares are kept at bay!

No longer feel the blues standing in payday queues

As mobile payments gain traction, checkout lines are picking up the pace thanks to less time spent swiping cards, entering PIN codes, or dealing with loose change. Adding to this increased speed is the lightning-fast mobile transaction processing that leaves good old debit and credit cards in the dust. This makes mobile payment systems an incredible solution to speeding up queues during those chaotic payday weekends when lines seem to stretch into eternity.

Fake information keeps criminals away

The biggest concern many people have about mobile payment systems is their perceived lack of security. In reality, these systems are even more secure than debit and credit cards. How? Well, for starters, they require biometric authentication like fingerprint scans or facial recognition to make purchases. Secondly, your mobile device takes extra precautions by encrypting your payment information during transactions. Each transaction gets its very own unique security code, and your actual card number is swapped out for a random mix of letters and numbers, known only to your device. This means that even if someone with crime on their mind intercepts the transaction, they won't be able to access your real information.


No juice, no use

We've all experienced the frustration of a dying phone battery at the worst possible moment. Now, imagine this happening when you’re about to make a purchase. This is the most glaring drawback of mobile payment systems. Their dependency on your phone's battery life means that if it runs out of juice, you're out of luck when it comes to completing transactions. Until we find a solution for endless battery life, this limitation will always be lurking. So, don’t forget to charge up and carry your power bank with you just in case.

Cash & cards are the comfort zone 

One thing about mobile payment systems is that there are a ton of options out there, it’s like trying to choose a show on Netflix. With mobile wallets, online banking apps, and third-party apps, it’s easy to feel like you're drowning in a sea of options, especially if you're new to the game. And to compound matters, the lack of standardisation and compatibility among these systems only serves to complicate matters. While more and more people are hopping on the mobile payment bandwagon, these hurdles could throw a wrench in the gears, particularly for those who aren't exactly tech-savvy and feel more comfortable using cash and cards.

Closing the tech gap

As with all things related to tech, there's a barrier to entry, especially in a developing country like South Africa. This barrier requires owning a smartphone equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to use digital wallets and banking apps. While NFC is available in almost all modern smartphones, even the most affordable ones, the reality remains that not everyone can afford them.

This leaves a significant portion of the population excluded from this type of payment. The good news is that QR scanning for mobile payments serves as a workaround. This method doesn't require the latest smartphone models. You can easily find the necessary support for QR tech in many of the older smartphones, including the most affordable ones. Plus, transactions can also be made offline, making it even more accessible.

Tapping into tomorrow

Mobile payment systems are rapidly reshaping the way we transact, offering unparalleled convenience, efficiency, and security. Even though they have a few kinks to work out, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. As technology continues to advance, mobile payments look set to become an indispensable part of our daily lives. So, next time you feel like indulging in a little retail therapy, you can tap, swipe, or scan your way to a smoother shopping experience!


The Most Popular Apple iPhones In the Past 6 Months Will Surprise You

Let's rewind the clock a bit. It's 2019, and you've just snagged the latest iPhone 11, feeling like you're holding the future in your hands. Fast forward to 2021, and boom! The iPhone 13 drops, and you're already eyeing it because, let's face it, Apple understood the assignment and delivered all the upgrades you hoped to see.But wait, we’re back in 2024 and these older iPhones are once again stealing the spotlight, outshining even the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15. What’s going on?!Drinking from the Fountain of YouthWhile some phones age like milk left out in the sun, the iPhone 11 and 13? They're ageing like fine wine. These devices don't feel outdated; they're still serving up snappy, lightning-fast performance, giving even the latest flagships a run for their money.Snapping Power that Steals the ShowRemember when the iPhone 11 and iPhone 13 hit the scene with their impeccable camera quality? They practically redefined smartphone photography, capturing breath-taking shots that left rivals rethinking everything. And now? People are waking up to the fact that you don't need to break the bank for stunning snaps, making these iPhones the go-to choice for photo enthusiasts everywhere.Unplugged & UnstoppableWho doesn't love a phone that can go the distance? The iPhone 11 and 13 are true champions when it comes to battery life, giving you juice for a full day without needing to scramble for a charger when midday arrives. And let's not forget the cherry on top—wireless charging support. It's the epitome of convenience, whether you're team MagSafe with the iPhone 13 or rocking Qi wireless charging with the iPhone 11.Hits the Sweet SpotThese devices hit the sweet spot feature-wise, blending innovation with practicality in a perfect tech cocktail. From the vibrant Liquid Retina HD display and solid build of the iPhone 11 to the Super Retina XDR display, 5G connectivity, and aluminium edges of the iPhone 13, they had it all from the get-go. And guess what? These features still hold their ground against the shiny new models.Overtaking the BestWith Apple's promise of up to seven years of software support, the iPhone 11 and 13 are in it for the long haul. It's no wonder they're not only competing with but overtaking these newer models. Not everyone needs the newest when trusty iPhones still have plenty of life left in them.An Irresistible DealLet's be real, who can say no to a bargain? The iPhone 13 and 11 are more affordable than ever before, offering top-notch performance without burning a hole in your pocket. You’re getting almost flagship-level devices at a fraction of the cost.Counter-Culture & the FOMO-Free ZoneFinally, in a world where most people are chasing the latest phone, something is refreshing about sticking with the tried-and-true iPhone 11 or 13. It feels counter-culture, cool, and liberating knowing you’re not affected by FOMO or trying to keep up with trends. And, saving a pretty penny while you do.So, there you have it. The iPhone 11 and 13 may not be the latest, but they're still among the greatest, stealing hearts and turning heads everywhere. And honestly, that's the kind of Apple everyone wants to take a bite out of.


Why A 2-for-1 Deal Is The Best Deal

We all love a good deal.But how about two?Our most popular 2-for-1 smartphone deals are here. But how do they work and is it worth your cash investment?Let's delve into the ins and outs of a 2-for-1 contract deal and why you should consider one.What's the Deal? As the name suggests, a 2-for-1 deal offers you two devices. One comes with contract benefits such as airtime and data while the other can be used as a top-up device.Even though the second phone doesn't have the data or airtime benefits of the first, it's a good option for someone who cannot afford the monthly constraints of a contract.Why Consider a 2-for-1 deal?Economical Option 2-for-1 deals are the smart way to go for anyone needing more than one device. If you are planning on keeping both smartphones for yourself, you are scoring two phones for the price of one. Alternatively, if you want to share the devices, you can split the costs with a friend or family member. The Latest DevicesGet all the amazing features you are looking for in one smartphone x 2!Not only are you saving with a 2-for-1 deal, but you’re also getting access to the latest specs. This is great if it’s been a while since you last upgraded because now you can get your hands on the latest Samsung or Huawei device at a discounted price!Starter Phone for Your Kids:If you have kids, a new cellphone is the perfect motivation for good grades. And if this is their first smartphone you probably don’t want to fork out a fortune on it. By giving them the extra phone, you save on contract costs (and they can either hotspot off you or use the at-home Wi-Fi). This is also a great way to introduce your kids to their first smartphone in a controlled way, keeping them safe and connected.Work-life Balance Achieved:Getting a 2-for-1 deal is a great way to avoid work following you home every evening. With a second phone, you can keep work and personal communication separate without any additional costs.Whether you are looking to upgrade your device, want to get a gift for someone, give your kids access to their first cellphone, or you just want the comfort of having an extra smartphone around for convenience, a 2-for-1 deal is ideal.Ready to get double the devices at a fraction of the cost? Check out our most in-demand 2-for-1 smartphone deals and upgrade your tech game now!


The New OnePlus Watch 2

The New OnePlus Watch 2: Stylish Innovation or One Less Thing You Need?Launched in February 2024, the OnePlus Watch 2 is the latest offering from OnePlus and is particularly appealing to fitness enthusiasts and those who value a large, clear screen that blends style and substance, a long battery life, a vibrant display, and customisable buttons. However, there are several shortcomings, which may not make it the right fit for everyone.Here are the pros and cons to help you decide if it's a must-have addition to your tech collection.The Four Pros Long Battery Life: The biggest plus of The OnePlus Watch 2 is its battery life, making it the perfect companion for those always on the go, and who don't want the hassle of frequent charging. The battery life of a One Plus Watch 2 can last for days on a single charge - up to 100 hours in smart mode, 48 hours with heavy usage, and an astonishing 12 days in power-saving mode. It also is a breeze to charge, going from 29% to 85% in just 20 minutes with a standard 5-watt power adapter.Customisable buttons: The OnePlus Watch 2 also offers great flexibility, with two customisable buttons on the side of the watch: a top button that functions as a home key, and a bottom button that be programmed for shortcuts, like the Apple Watch Ultra's Action key, making navigation easy and intuitive.Stunning Display: The OnePlus Watch 2 features a stainless-steel casing that exudes elegance, especially when paired with the grey band. The colourful AMOLED sapphire crystal display is not only vibrant and sharp but also large enough to comfortably view health graphs and workout maps. This is great for fitness enthusiasts who need clear and detailed displays of their activity whilst having a sleek device that stands out stylishly on the wrist.Wear OS 4 Platform: Running on Google's Wear OS 4 and the integration with the Google Play Store ensures you have a wide selection of third-party apps at your fingertips, including Google Wallet, Google Maps, YouTube Music, and Google Assistant.The Three Cons:Limited Size Options: Unlike other smartwatches, the OnePlus Watch 2 comes in only one size, which might not suit everyone. While the watch has a premium look, it is on the thicker side and occupies almost the entire width of the wrist. This larger-than-average size could be cumbersome and uncomfortable for those with smaller wrists, especially when worn during the night for sleep tracking.Missing Health Features: Despite its many strengths, the OnePlus Watch 2 lacks some essential health-tracking features such as fall detection, ECG monitoring, and period tracking. These omissions could be a deal-breaker for users seeking a comprehensive health monitoring offering. It also lacks the big-picture analysis that ties together various health metrics to provide a holistic view of your wellness. Competitors like Garmin and Fitbit offer more detailed insights that could be missed here.Shorter Software Support: The OnePlus only guarantees two years of software support, which is shorter than the timelines offered by competitors like Apple, Google, and Samsung. This could impact the long-term usability of the watch.So, is it worth it?Opting for the OnePlus Watch 2 will depend on your specific needs and priorities. If long battery life is essential and you enjoy the Google ecosystem, this could be a great option, especially given its affordable price.However, if comprehensive health tracking and longer software support are more important to you, consider boosting your budget and investing in alternatives like a Garmin or Galaxy smartwatch.