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Safety check: How secure is your mobile phone?

6-minute read

Mobile phones are with us 24/7. So, using them to accept and track payments for your small business or to buy products or services makes perfect sense. It’s a fast, convenient, and customer-friendly way to manage money.


Westpac EFTPOS Air has been developed by payment experts. So, what do you – and your customers - need to know about mobile device security? Westpac’s EFTPOS Air allows you to securely take payments on-the-go. EFTPOS Air payments are processed by Westpac using security features that have been specifically developed to enable mobile transactions. Payments made through your mobile device will be just as secure as those made through our physical EFTPOS machines.

Keep your personal information safe

You wouldn’t leave your wallet lying around for an opportunist to steal your card numbers or personal details. The same is true of your mobile device.


Even if your phone or tablet is always with you, it’s important to understand how to keep your personal contact details and financial information under wraps.


Multi-factor authentication, regular data back-ups and software updates, and remote tracking are some effective ways to keep your data and devices safe from fraudsters and scammers.

Know the basics to stop scammers and avoid identity theft

Lock your mobile device

Lock your mobile device with a password, PIN (don’t make it something too easy or obvious, like your birth date), or biometrics (facial recognition or a fingerprint). These simple measures will help protect you if your device is lost or stolen.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) can be used to verify your identity and help protect you against password-related cyberattacks. With EFTPOS Air, MFA is always on.


Hossam Nagy, Westpac’s Senior Product Manager, Payments, says EFTPOS Air uses MFA, so it’s easier for small businesses and sole traders to use, and to avoid falling victim to scams.


“On the first login to the EFTPOS Air app, you enter the email address that you‘ve registered with Westpac,” he says. “You then get a security verification code, which you enter into the app to set your password.”  


Because you use your Westpac-registered email address and password every time you log in, security is built in.


Other smart safety hacks for everyone: back up your data regularly on an external storage device or the cloud in case your mobile device is lost or stolen and be sure to reset to factory settings so all data including personal details are deleted before you sell or dispose of your phone to help avoid identity theft.  

How to make your phone even more secure

Only download apps from official or reputable app stores

And turn on automatic updates for your phone’s operating system and regularly update apps.


“For example, EFTPOS Air users will get a notification from Google Play or App Store when there is a new version of the app. However, because EFTPOS Air is a sophisticated payment system that lives in the cloud, our team is continuously making updates in the background without customers having to take any action”, says Nagy.

Can I use public Wi-Fi?

“Be careful about using a public Wi-Fi hotspot” is the usual advice for anyone concerned about keeping personal and bank account details safe, and that may be something that your customers are cautious of.

The EFTPOS Air app uses the latest encryption technologies to securely communicate to Westpac’s servers, Nagy says, so it runs safely over all kinds of internet connections, including Wi-Fi.”

Use your phone’s remote tracking features

Such as Apple’s Find Devices app and Google’s Find My Device to locate your phone or remotely erase the contents if it’s lost or stolen.


The ability to sign out remotely from the EFTPOS Air portal also gives you extra peace of mind, says Nagy. “No one can use the app until you find the device and log in using your credentials. You can also change the password from the portal if you believe it has been compromised.”


An extra fail-safe for your customers – EFTPOS Air never stores sensitive data on the device, so cardholder data is always secure, even if the device falls into criminal hands.

Be wary of suspicious phone numbers, emails or text messages

They could be scam messages or linked to the latest phone scams. Designed to trick people, you will often be asked to take urgent action or open a link. Don’t click through on any of these links.

Extra tap-on-phone security for peace of mind  

While you or your customers might worry that using your phone to accept payments is not as secure as using other payment methods, it’s just as secure as those made through physical EFTPOS machines, says Nagy   . EFTPOS AIR utilises industry approved security standards and guidelines and has been certified for card acceptance by all major card schemes including Visa, Mastercard® and EFTPOS.


“For the first time, Tap to Pay technology allows merchants to accept card payments on what is called a consumer off-the-shelf (COTS) device. This significantly raises the bar in terms of security requirements and new payment card industry standards, which Westpac EFTPOS Air meets.


EFTPOS Air ensures data between the mobile device and servers is always encrypted, Nagy adds, even if a hacker is listening in to the communication, they won’t be able to get any useful information.


“This operation is performed in an Android Trusted Execution Environment   or Apple Secure Element, so that even an app on the same device cannot interfere or eavesdrop.”


EFTPOS Air is also able to detect unusual activity on a mobile device and can automatically block itself in these cases. To add another layer of security, EFTPOS Air also allows businesses to utilise a password before processing a refund.  


Be safe and secure online, with smart technology and the backing of a leading Australian bank.


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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.