There's no denying mobile payments are incredibly convenient. Many shoppers have their phones readily available in their pockets and purses, so there's no fumbling with a wallet stuffed with cards, cash and receipts. Several banks accommodate mobile shoppers with custom apps and optimized websites allowing users to make online payments while on the go.
Still, shoppers have doubts about mobile payments, according to Multichannel Merchant. Many are worried the platforms leave them vulnerable to identity theft.
Professional concerns about security
These concerns are backed by cybersecurity experts. In fall 2015, ISACA, an IT nonprofit, released its 2015 Mobile Payment Security Study, which consulted over 900 cybersecurity experts regarding the state of mobile payments. Only 23 percent believe mobile payment methods keep personal data secured. Meanwhile, 87 percent expect mobile data breaches to increase. Thirty percent were still unsure as to whether or not mobile payments are safe, while 47 percent were confident the platforms are insecure. At the time, only 42 percent of responding experts had used mobile payments in 2015.
The study identified four major weaknesses in mobile payment security. Twenty-six percent said the use of public Wi-Fi networks left users exposed, while 21 percent blamed phones that were stolen or misplaced. Phishing – when third parties portray themselves as banks or other financial institutions to obtain account details – and its text message counterpart "smishing" were also a source of security weakness. The final concern was poor passwords.
Mobile finance apps at risk
The ISACA study isn't alone. Arxan Technologies, a company specializing in mobile application defense, released its report on mobile health and finance app security in mid-January. The study found 92 percent of the most popular mobile finance apps were vulnerable to at least two of the top 10 security risks listed by the Open Web Application Security Project. The report also found only half of financial app developers included mobile security in their budget.
According to Multichannel Merchant, the best way to combat these fears is for mobile payment providers to take preemptive measures against stolen data. At the same time, those who accept mobile payments need devices that prioritize mobile security.
Still, the best approach for a business is to offer a wide variety of payment solutions. This allows shoppers to purchase goods and services in a manner they find secure and reliable. E-commerce businesses should choose a payment processing company that fits their needs and eases customer concerns.
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