Delving into Mobile Payments? Consumer Advocates have some Reading for You

Delving into Mobile Payments? Consumer Advocates have some Reading for You
Image: Pixabay
March 21, 2016

Are you a mobile payment amateur? If you're concerned about venturing into the digital world when making payments, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is releasing educational materials about protecting your privacy and security when making mobile payments.

These consumer tips explain how mobile payments work, the kinds of personal information that could be collected, how to avoid security pitfalls, and the steps to take to keep mobile devices, and the information they contain, safe and secure.

In a written statement, Susan Grant, CFA's Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy, said, "It's important to know what information is collected, who has access to it and how it's used, and to take advantage of any controls that are offered, especially since there is no comprehensive federal law that protects consumer privacy."

For those that continue to shy away from mobile payments, 50 percent continue to do so because they are concerned about security.

"Consumers should take the same precautions as they do to protect their home computers from malware and other threats," said Grant. "With mobile devices they also need to think about the lack of security using free public Wi-Fi and how to prevent others from using their devices if they're lost or stolen."

Another issue is what to do if something goes wrong with a mobile payment. Mobile payments often involve a variety of companies and finding someone to contact can be a problem. A consumer's right to challenge payments can be complicated because they differ depending on whether they are made with credit cards, debit cards, or prepaid accounts. There is no federal law that provides payment dispute rights.