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Eye on Cyber: Protecting Your Money When Using Payment Apps

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With fewer people carrying cash these days, a growing number of payment apps aim to make splitting a restaurant check or paying a friend back easy and even fun.

But how do you choose one, and are they secure?

Payment apps, otherwise known as "peer to peer payment platforms," could someday be more popular than cash, especially among younger people. But if you're not careful, payment apps can make cybercrime fast and easy, too.

Whether you're shopping, out to dinner with friends, or just buying a cup of coffee, nearly 60 percent of Americans now use payment apps, according to a recent study by the Mercator Advisory Group.

Venmo is one of the most used, because it combines ease of payment with a social network.

Square's Cash App works like Venmo, but without the social features, and includes the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin.

Zell, which is offered through several major banks, is also growing in popularity.

It's important to be on-guard for scams, though.

If someone offers to pay you via one of these apps for something you are selling online, don't do it. Criminals are now targeting sales over payment apps, because they can be harder to trace.

That's why Venmo warns its users to use the app only with people they know.

To keep your money safe when using payment apps, don't carry a balance on your account. Cash out your account at the end of the day.

Also, enable additional security measures, like a personal identification number or Touch ID.

It may sound simple, but anytime you receive a payment, as soon as possible, confirm the money has landed in your account.

Find more from "Eye on Cyber" by clicking here.

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