I expect that we are going to hear a lot more about mobile payment options this coming year, and I think it is a logical progression in technology. People are using their smartphones for all sorts of transactions now – boarding passes, coupons at the grocery store, and so on – and using the phone to replace the credit card is just a natural move forward.
Of course, how quickly mobile payment options are adopted depends on two things: whether businesses want to invest in the technology to receive such payments and whether consumers are ready to trust the security of mobile payment technology. However, it seems that on the consumer side at least, mobile payment adoption has a few hurdles to jump before it becomes mainstream.
Venture Beat provided a sobering outlook on mobile payments for the coming year:
‘Secure’ has been a word that has been pitched with every mobile payment solution, and while mobile payments may well be safer than traditional transactions, consumers are not buying it, not wholly, at least.
The article goes on to state that mobile payments involve two of the least secure technologies out there, smartphones and credit cards. We also know that hackers tend to stay a step ahead when it comes to security and technology, so it is hard to believe that mobile payment options will be more secure than other payment options.
A study conducted by Tripwire and released last month shows just how wary consumers are about mobile payment options, with only 2 percent believing that it is the safest way to make a purchase in person. The study also shows that consumers are still out of touch when it comes to overall payment-related security. As Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer for Tripwire, told eWeek, mobile security issues may need to be taken more seriously:
[A] surprising number of consumers are associating insecure mobile devices with their bank accounts or credit cards, which can make them easier targets for fraud and cyber-crime.
Ken Westin, security analyst for Tripwire, said in an email statement that consumers need to take more responsibility for their security. However, as the study showed, consumers want to leave security up to businesses and financial institutions. We all need to step up our own security responsibilities, but until consumers are willing to do more for their personal security concerns, companies will have to step up even more on the security front.
So that brings us back to the question of whether or not businesses are willing to add the technologies necessary for accepting mobile payment options. If the answer to that is “yes,” the follow-up question is what the company will do to ensure that these options are secure. After all, your customers will be counting on you to protect their financial and personal data.
Sue Marquette Poremba has been writing about network security since 2008. In addition to her coverage of security issues for IT Business Edge, her security articles have been published at various sites such as Forbes, Midsize Insider and Tom's Guide. You can reach Sue via Twitter: @sueporemba