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Which is the Safer Payment Method? Apple Pay vs Credit Cards

Apple Pay has cemented itself in the daily lives of many. But which transaction method is safer? Apple Pay Vs Credit Cards.

Mobile payments are fast becoming the preferred payment choice for customers due to their convenience and increased security. Giving you one less thing to remember when you’re rushing out the door in the morning, these payment apps have propelled in popularity in recent years, cementing themselves in the daily lives of many.

Amongst the various mobile payment services available, Apple Pay stands out as the most recognisable. But what exactly is Apple Pay, and why should you be using it almost exclusively for your transactions. Apple Pay vs Credit Cards.

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is one of the most popular mobile payment services. Digitalising the payment experience, Apple Pay allows users to store their payment cards within their apple device. With Apple Pay you can make contactless purchases in store and online without presenting a physical payment card.

Apple Pay utilises ‘Near Field Communication’. This industry standard technology allows short, secure communications between your device and store terminals, for contactless payments.

Back in 2014 when mobile payment services were first being adopted, the number of places which had NFC compatible terminals was so few and far between that it almost became futile adopting Apple Pay. This was one of the biggest disadvantages expressed about mobile payment services.

Nowadays, 70% of UK merchants accept Apple Pay, a figure which has risen steadily since its first adoption. From huge enterprises like McDonald’s, Adidas, and Waitrose, to your local off-licence, everyone are beginning to understand the benefits of mobile payment compatibility.

Apple Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC) for contactless payments.

Why Apple Pay is Safer than Physical Payment Cards

Fundamentally Apple Pay serves to place a layer of protection between your physical payment card and the risks of a transaction. When you add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, your card numbers are not stored on your device or Apple’s servers. Instead, Apple encrypts and securely stores a unique device account number associated with your card, on to your device. Meaning Apple doesn’t share your actual card information with merchants during transactions.

There are several features which Apple Pay employs to elevate its security even further:

Secure Enclave

At the heart of Apple Pay’s security is the Secure Enclave, a dedicated chip in iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches that stores and protects users’ payment data. The Secure Enclave chip houses the payment information and is intentionally isolated from the device’s main processor. This security measure makes it virtually impossible for any malware or malicious software to gain access to the sensitive data stored within it.


For each payment made using Apple Pay, the app generates a unique security token. These tokens authenticate and authorise each transaction. As these tokens can only be used once, and are re-generated for each transaction, intercepted data becomes useless to cybercriminals or fraudsters, as the token they access expires.

On the other hand, if your payment card details are intercepted at transaction, these details can be used continuously by cybercriminals, until you contact your bank and lock your card.

Biometric Authentication

Apple Pay Biometric Authentication to approve transaction.

To further enhance security at the time of payment, Apple Pay utilises biometric authentication methods such as Touch and Face ID to confirm the user’s identity before authorising a transaction.

As anyone who has had a payment card stolen can testify to, once a physical card is in the hands of a criminal, they can use it to make in-person and online transactions at their will. With biometric authentication, even in the event that someone gains access to your device, only the owner can authorise transactions.

Transaction Alerts

Apple Pay provides real-time transaction alerts, allowing users to monitor their activity and detect unauthorised transaction attempts. In addition, some transactions may require additional authentication, such as a passcode or fingerprint. Further adding to the overall security of Apple Pay. If all safety measures fail, you are made immediately aware and can act quicker.

Apple Pay vs Credit Cards

  • Biometric Authentication: Apple Pay uses touch/face ID to authorise transactions, while credit cards rely on pins, which can be easily stolen.
  • Tokenisation: Each Apple Pay transaction generates a unique security token, expiring after use, so if intercepted, it is already invalid.
  • Encrypted transactions: Payment data is encrypted during transmission, safeguarding against interception hackers.
  • No card numbers stored: Apple Pay avoids storing card numbers, reducing data breach risks.
  • Real-Time unauthorised transaction alerts: Immediate notifications are provided by Apple Pay for unauthorised transactions.

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