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Security issues still loom large over mobile payment adoption

October 14, 2015

For some time now, experts have been predicting that widespread adoption of mobile payment processing platforms by consumers and merchants alike would take off within the next few years.

For some time now, experts have been predicting that widespread adoption of mobile payment processing platforms by consumers and merchants alike would take off within the next few years. And while there have been a number of reasons for a delay in this area, one issue that still seems to linger even as a wide array of options have emerged is that there is still a lot of wariness about the security of these systems.

Surveys largely suggest that the biggest impediment to boosting adoption of mobile payment platforms – regardless of which ones are being discussed – relates back to people or retailers being uncertain that they’re all that safe, according to a report from Payments Source. This should come as little surprise, given the amount of headlines payment data security grabs over the course of a given month. This comes despite the fact that many of these mobile systems have significantly more layers of security built into them than, say, swiping a credit or debit card to make a payment.

Potential risks
One of the biggest issues that some experts see when it comes to mobile payment data security is that it might not be all that difficult for criminals to get in through the front door, so to speak, the report said. Putting bio-data, encryption, and other things in the way of hackers cracking the back end of a given payment is all well and good, but there is theoretically nothing stopping a criminal from using a stolen credit card and “burner” email address to start a mobile payments account on an accompanying device and making fraudulent purchases anyway.

However, these are issues that mobile payment systems developers and banks alike are working to smooth over on a regular basis, the report said. That may come in the form of increased verification processes to determine that people signing up for a mobile platform are who they say they are, but a lot of what could happen here is very much up in the air.

Mobile payments are coming, but security likely has to be there first.Mobile payments are coming, but security likely has to be there first.

Potential solutions
On the other hand, one of the other big problems in the mobile payments game isn’t entirely related to security, but should be helped by widespread adoption of EMV payment processing in the near future, the report said. Millions of U.S. merchants may soon increase the security of even standard credit card transactions by adopting chip-and-pin technology, and that, in turn, will likely lead to more widespread availability of – and attention to – the security for mobile payments. If that happens in the near future, there’s likely to be a big bump-up in adoption over the next few years.

However, both consumers and retailers should still keep a close eye on proceeding with caution here, to make sure they’re doing all in their power to protect payment data. In this way, the entire payment ecosystem is likely to become more secure as this payment type gains ubiquity.

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