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Security worries holding back mobile commerce revolution

Security worries holding back mobile commerce revolution

8/30/2013

For any payment method you can think of, there are certain risks involved. When you're carrying cash, there's always a chance a pickpocket could rob you of your hard-earned dollars, and if you prefer plastic, you'd better guard your PIN number and online banking details if you don't want unauthorized parties dipping into your accounts. Despite these risks, people have learned to work around the threats to stay safe.

The emerging mobile commerce trend is a different animal. Not only is it relatively new on the scene, but connecting your smartphone to your credit or debit card carries a special set of risks, with identity theft being among the most worrying. As consumers grow more aware of cybercrime and become more concerned about the privacy of their personal information, they are proving to be hesitant when it comes to adopting this new method of payment. Matters such as identity theft are nothing to sneer at, and no one wants to fall victim to this crime just because they opted to buy their morning coffee with their mobile device.

Security worries slow down shoppers
According to the Mobile Commerce Press, paying for goods and services via handheld gadgets has the potential to unlock a great deal of benefits, but retailers are having trouble getting their customers to warm up to the idea. The news outlet pointed out that a recent study by Jumio found 65 percent of mobile commerce shoppers admitted to abandoning their carts before completing the checkout process, and more than half of those who said "forget it" did so because they weren't confident about sharing sensitive data on their smartphones or tablets. The source explained that one of the biggest challenges in the way of mobile commerce's success is consumers' feelings that entering vulnerable data on their devices is more dangerous than doing so on their personal computers. 

Security expert Andreas Baumhof told SecurityWeek that mobile fraud is currently at a similar juncture as Internet banking fraud was about a decade ago. As users get accustomed to new ways to manage their finances, it's natural for worries to crop up. While the news provider emphasized that the number of mobile commerce-related incidents is low thus far, this doesn't mean consumers should necessarily breathe a sigh of relief. In fact, Baumhof cautioned that it can be particularly difficult to detect fraud on smartphones and tablets. This could leave some users open to theft and other problems when they least expect it.

Keeping your identity
"Although growing, ecommerce on mobile devices continues to be a secondary choice for consumers because of technical website failures and real security concerns," said Jim MacKay director of digital strategy at ProtectCELL. "It's always a good idea to make sure you're shopping at reputable sites and have an identity theft support plan as a security net."

To that end, one way people can become more confident about adopting mobile payments is to supplement any tablet or smartphone insurance they have with a protection plan from ProtectCELL. By choosing a plan that includes identity protection, device users will get the peace of mind of knowing even in the worst case scenario, they have access to the remediation services and other resources they'll need to set things right. There will always be risks involved with using technology, but having professional support means you can stay on the cutting edge of mobile trends without worry.

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