Posted August 24, 2010 3:29 pm by with 1 comment

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Fresh off its success in helping to take the Apple Antennagate fiasco to a new level, Consumer Reports may be trying to make a name for itself in the world of the mobile Internet.

According to the LA Times the group is now making some waves in the area of mobile payment security.

{Consumers Union} the nonprofit testing and information organization, which publishes Consumer Reports, called on regulators Tuesday to implement protective standards on mobile payments.

Federal law currently shields credit or debit card holders from many charges associated with lost, stolen or misused cards. But without industry-wide rules for “digital wallet” providers, consumers could risk losing money through fraud, merchant disputes or processing mistakes, the group said.

Existing regulations are piecemeal, said the Yonkers, N.Y.-based group. Mobile payments linked to credit cards are the most protected, with limited liability for unauthorized transactions and the right to argue about certain charges.

Phone purchases hooked up to debit cards have fewer safeguards. But mobile payments would likely increase the number of charges funneled through prepaid cards and phone bills, which are even less protected.

The reality is that anything done online carries some inherent risk. Because of the relative newness of mobile purchasing in the US there are a lot of concerns about consumers and companies alike being protected. Since most people will assume that the same protections that apply to credit cards in more traditional setting will also apply in the mobile space there are bound to be some tough lessons learned in the early years of the mobile era.

There are efforts being made to make these transactions safer and more secure but it will be some time before we get a real feel for just how much a hacker is capable of doing in the wireless space.

Are you concerned about purchasing items through your smart phone? Do you have greater concern about this method of payment than you do about other online payment offerings? Are you holding back from making purchases on your phone or do you just figure it’ll be fine?

  • Yeah, security is really a big challenge!