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Security feature: UPI vs Wallets vs Digital Cards

How secure is your payment ecosystem?

The other day I was chatting with a villager on my trip to Rajasthan. He was the owner of a large oilseeds field. Unfortunately, he faced a crop failure due to a delay in rains. Luckily, the crop insurance scheme was his savior.

“What mode do you use for insurance payment?” I asked inquisitively.

“I prefer the UPI Madam. It is so convenient. Direct bank to bank transfer. It has made our lives easier. Previously, I made use of wallets. But, loading money gets hectic sometimes. Also, the security is minimal. How can we be assured that our money is in safe hands?” he replied.

It was amazing to see the outreach of the UPI payment system to the deep pockets of the rural regions of India. Interestingly, the security features of the UPI payment mode left me in awe.

Security Feature of UPI vs Cards vs Wallets
Security features of UPI vs Cards vs Wallets

UPI boasts of a superior payment mode as compared to wallets and digital cards. With UPI 2.0, the signed intent & QR and Invoice in the inbox security features are added.

In the course of this blog, let us compare the security features of UPI vis a vis Digital Cards and Wallets.

Security Features of UPI

UPI Security feature 1: Binding with mobile number

This is a significant feature of UPI that brings in the first layer of security. UPI verification of the user happens during the initial login and registration. The UPI app binds with your mobile number to verify your identity. In case, you change the phone or the number, you need to verify your identity again. This option ensures that your credentials stay safe in case of a mobile threat or identity threat.

UPI Security feature 2: Two-factor authentication

The second security feature comes into effect during the transaction process. While registering on UPI, users are given an option to set an MPIN (Mobile PIN). It is a 4 or 6 digit number set up while registering on the UPI app. You can generate it by clicking on create/generate MPIN tab and entering the debit card details (last six digits and card expiry details). In the course of transactions, this MPIN is used to authenticate a transaction. You can also change the MPIN if you forget it, using the same create/generate MPIN tab.  

UPI Security feature 3: Signed intent and QR

With a quick response code (QR) and signed intent option, users can check the authenticity of the merchants. Users have the option to check if the merchants are UPI verified or not. In case the merchant is not UPI verified, users get information via notifications. This security feature ensures that QR code tampering frauds remain low. Hence, signed intent and QR features bring in secure and tamper-proof transactions.

UPI Security feature 4: Invoice in the inbox

This is a noteworthy and secure feature addition to the UPI. Before initiating your payment to the merchant, it is possible to view the generated invoice. This brings in security by verifying the credentials of the transacting merchant. In other words, this feature safeguards you from fraudulent transactions.


Security Feature of Digital Card

Comparatively, Digital card offers different security features. Nevertheless, it is unique and robust in itself.

For example, Digital cards have an option of confirming the transaction either using password or an OTP (one time password). Also, some banks require you to not repeat the previous three used passwords. Further, SMS cum Email alert is sent for each transaction.


Security Feature of Wallet

As compared to UPI, wallets offer a lesser level of security. For example, many wallets do not offer two-factor authentication. But on the other hand, the QR code feature of wallets minimizes the payment data.

Nevertheless, there is a chance of security compromise in the case of wallets due to the indirect involvement of the bank. It is basically a wallet to wallet money transfer.


  • UPI offers security via 2 factor authentication, QR & Signed Intent and Invoice in Inbox
  • Digital Card security is via password or OTP
  • Wallet security follows a 1 factor authentication


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Digital payment trends of 2019

Digital payment modes to simplify our lives

Have you faced the challenge of making cash payments at the grocery store? Have you fumbled up due to the lack of cash? Not anymore, with the digital payment system in the offing. Significantly, the digital payment system is the buzzword in the contemporary payment market.

By definition, digital payment systems connote the electronic transfer of money, as opposed to the physical cash payment. This is through different modes like; payment via an app, net­banking, contactless cards, etc. Going
ahead, digital payment is the need of the hour in consonance with a lot of benefits. Of these, multiple payment options, payment tracking, safety, and security take priority.

Digital payment modes
Learn about the digital payment modes which simplified transactions.

In this blog, I will walk you through the sought after payment modes of 2019.

1. Digital payment using E­ Wallets

E­wallets connote virtual wallets used to make payments with the help of a mobile or a computer device. This isakin to holding the personal, physical wallet under one head. Herein, the account details of a user linked to the
wallet to bring in ease of mapping of a user’s personal information. It comes with security features like passwordauthentication, KYC check, etc.

Advantages of E­wallets

  • E­wallets do not require you to key in precise details like CVV, the expiry date of the card, mobile number,etc. With these added security features, payment fraud reduced.
  • The user interface of E­wallets is easy to navigate. You won’t experience the hassle of keying in personal details for payment.
  • In other words, the preloaded data facilitate easy payments. As a result, payment processing takes place in a quick and hassle­free manner.
  • Data secrecy happens through the wallet to a wallet or the bank to bank transactions. Hence, this complies with the data security clause of government organizations.
  • On a different plane, e­wallets come with financial incentives and offers. Going ahead, this provides a good return on investments on payment processing.

Disadvantages of E­wallets

  • While e­wallet is changing the face of payments, it is not affordable due to the lack of internet and mobile connectivity.
  • Besides, e­wallet set up requires costly investments in the form of software and hardware.

2. Digital payment using Contactless card payments

This digital payment mode makes use of near field communication (NFC) or Radio Frequency (RFID) technology to facilitate card cum mobile payments. It includes credit/debit cards, smart cards, etc.

On the one hand, Radiofrequency technology involves the use of electronic fields to store data in the form of tags. The tags scanned during a transaction results in payments. Similarly, Near field communication technique makes use of magnetic fields to bring in an end to end transaction connectivity. Some of the key contactless payment providers include Wirecard, SecureKey Technologies, Tyfone, Dynamics, etc.

Advantages of Contactless card payments

  • It brings in fast payment transaction and settlement. Also, NFC avoids the waiting time associated with contact card payments.
  • Due to the inbuilt data encryption, there is an added level of security.
  • It brings in the room for prospective innovation.

Disadvantages of Contactless card payments

  • The cards are propense malware attacks. So, this brings in a security risk.
  • Being an advanced payment mode, the payment option is costly which everyone cannot afford.
  • Since it is an advanced technology, very few merchants use this technology.

3. Digital payment using Payment Cards

This digital payment mode deals with electronic money transfers via cards like debit, credit, smart, etc. Besides,the cards are electronically linked to a customer’s bank accounts. The card authentication takes place with the help
of PIN, CVV, etc. Also, these cards are used at ATMs, POS machines and online payment platforms. The subsequent usage charges are very low.

The technologies associated with the cards are magnetic strip technology, embossing, and smart card technology. In a magnetic strip card, card data stored in the magnetic strip is read by swiping it. In a smart card, hologram and ICs bring about counterfeit prevention.

Advantages of Payment cards

  • Easy and convenient transactions by avoiding physical cash. Herein, transactions take place conveniently by using the inbuilt data present in the cards.
  • Payment cards have inbuilt payment tracking. With the credit history tracked, it keeps a check on taxation issues.
  • Besides, the cards come with offers as incentives for online payments. Hence, this creates a favorable payment environment in the long run.

Disadvantages of Payment cards

  • Payment cards create a culture of debt accumulation. For example, with credit card purchases the repayment happens with the added interest rate.
  • Also, the increasing debit/credit card frauds compromise with the precious personal data of users.

In a nutshell, choose the payment platform which best suits your business requirements. While E­wallets are common amongst small e­commerce players, a contactless card is the upcoming payment trend. Besides,
debit/credit cards support a variety of customer base. Hence, digital payment modes are fast changing the face of payments across the world.

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