Are Mobile Technologies Secure?

There is still an issue of trust when it comes to new solutions in payment. Consumers feel that new mobile payment technologies dont come with the same level of protection as existing payment methods such as bank cards. Truth be told the nervousness that comes with technology developments the largely the industry’s failure to explain what it is that makes one solution secure and another less so. 

Mobile contact payments are enabled by the inclusion of NFC technology in mobile phones, This is the new revolution in payments and would seem a very convenient way to pay, but there is still a lack of deployment in industries who are hesitant due to the safety of phones as a platform for commerce.

A recent study from federal reserve bank shows consumer attitudes about mobile payments

  • 76% of consumers think cash or the familiar debit/credit card format is easier to use than mobile devices and mobile “wallets”;
  • 63% of consumers are concerned about the security of mobile phones;
  • 61% “see no benefit”

RSR (Retail Systems Research) recently conducted a survey about next generation payments a retailer perspective

Retailers identified that the top 2 factors driving their payment strategies are

  1. Minimising the risk of a data breach
  2. protecting customer payment data

These two factors have overridden factors such as “achieving a balance between maximising revenues and reducing costs” and “reacting to consumer demand”. While there are some differences in priority depending on the retailers size and still has security issues of its own. Some under performing retailers are more eager to embrace new payment technology in the hopes it will solve all of their problems. A huge majority of these believe that “mobile payments and wallets will revolutionise both face to face and card not present channels”

Are phones secure? just as the home PC can be protected from malicious attacks so too can be the mobile phone. Payment applications can reside in a trusted environment within the phone and be ring fenced from other applications. Most recent developments also allow for the card numbers to be protected through new tokenisation processes. For transaction processing there is little personal or sensitive information passing between the phone and reader so concerns about eavesdropping or pickpocketing are often overstated.