Experts raise concerns over M-commerce payment security
27 August 2010 - 15:15 by Graham Miller
Consumers can be fairly confident of finding safe shopping online from most mainstream retailers when using their computers, but the growth of m-commerce outlets has not been met with commensurate improvements in the security of mobile payment methods, according to some experts.
The risks of retailers making errors when processing payments or of consumers having their financial details stolen by malicious third parties is greater when shopping from your mobile than when shopping on a desktop computer because the technology that powers m-commerce is seen as less mature and thus less secure.
In the US, the Consumers Union has voiced its concerns relating to the potential risks for customers of m-commerce retailers and it believes that there is a greater need for regulation within the fast growing industry.
The Consumers Union's Michelle Jun said that the systems by which payments are made from mobile devices should be governed by protection which ensures that consumers are not left out of pocket if they have their details misused.
Retailers are being urged to ensure that safe shopping online is possible from mobile platforms by encrypting data transferred between mobile apps whenever a payment is made. The practice of keeping payment information locally on the user's phone is also discouraged, as the loss or theft of the device will leave this information exposed.
Making card payments via mobile phones is popular, but there are several entirely new methods by which mobiles can be used to make payments, including on-screen vouchers and ticketing information for which the phone must be presented to the retailers, together with digital wallet systems, whereby near field communication allows the mobile to store user credits as a substitute for cash.
The ongoing development of these payment methods is clearly designed to make the lives of consumers that little bit easier, but it is widely acknowledged that ensuring all m-commerce transactions are secure is of the utmost importance.