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Mobile shopping has benefits and drawbacks

Mobile shopping has its benefits and drawbacks

7/11/2013

With the help of a smartphone, life has gotten a whole lot easier for most people. It's the little things in life that matter, and mobile commerce is definitely one of them. Maybe you're on your way home from work when you realize you really don't want to cook dinner when you get back - and by taking a few quick steps, you can order pizza while you finish your commute. Plus, it's become simple to buy your morning coffee, comparison shop or snag a last minute gift to be sent to your door. 

But if that sounds a bit too good to be true, it is in some ways. Every transaction method comes with its inherent risks. Cash, cards and phones can all easily be stolen, but with mobile commerce, fears that cyberattacks could jeopardize users' identities seem to have become even more pressing. Still, consumers are adopting mobile payments at a strong pace, meaning that while service providers work on improving security features, so too should the people making the transactions.

Mobile commerce craze
Recent studies have shown that when it comes to electronic payments, mobile is where it's at for many of the world's shoppers. Econsultancy noted that a survey of 1,000 U.K. consumers by Toluna found that 49 percent of respondents had used their phones to make a purchase within the last six months. However, when it came to browsing for goods online, 27 percent said they had done so with their phones in just the past week. 

Meanwhile, Internet Retailer pointed out that a Forrester Research study discovered that Americans are also growing quite enthusiastic about shopping from their mobile devices. In fact, 69 percent of iPhone owners in the U.S. have used their gadget to make a purchase, followed by 53 percent of Android owners and 35 percent of BlackBerry owners. Additionally, 32 percent of those with Windows Phones said they use their devices to complete transactions. 

It's no big surprise that the number of people harnessing the on-the-go purchasing power of their devices is growing, especially considering the perceived advantages of doing so. Dynmark cited a study by Apigee​, which found that of 2,000 American mobile gadget users, 82 percent feel that there are significant benefits to using their smartphones and tablets to shop. Among the most common reasons for using mobile devices for shopping were performing price checks at will, redeeming digital coupons and buying products that would be considered personal online while at work without having to use a company computer.

But of course, the more financial data that's stored on your phone, the higher the risk that you might experience identity theft if it is lost or stolen. Threats like phishing can also result in strangers gaining access to importing information that could give them free reign to buy items on your dime or take out fraudulent lines of credit. So if you're going to participate in mobile commerce, you have to be prepared for the worst case scenario. With a plan from ProtectCELL that includes identity theft protection, you can jump on board with the mobile payments trend without losing control of your most vital information.

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