Security concerns high on mobile payment platforms

Security remains an important concern when it comes to mobile payments

Though mobile devices are becoming a popular means through which consumers purchase goods and services, many remain concerned about the security protections in place with most mobile payment platforms. It's one of the many factors online merchants are advised to rectify when working out a way to accept credit cards online for the first time.

Recently, one high-profile consumer goods company has endured criticism from a consumer advocacy group for the purported security risks in its mobile payment processing. Consumer Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, criticized a newly announced service from T-Mobile that allows subscribers to make purchases through their phone conveniently.

Under T-Mobile's Direct Carrier Billing program, users won't be asked to input their credit card information when shopping from their phone. Instead, those purchases will appear on their monthly phone bill.

Michelle Jun, senior attorney for Consumers Union, says that while the service touts itself as convenient, purchases added onto a phone bill don't enjoy the same protections as those made through a credit or debit card. Without sufficient safeguards in the phone contract, users who shop online through T-Mobile's service might not be able to dispute charges or fight fraud as they would with traditional mobile payments.

"Consumers need to know that they'll be protected in the event of a billing error or if the goods they order aren't as promised or if they become victims of fraud," said Jun in a news release.

The Los Angeles Times reported T-Mobile officials insist the Direct Carrie Billing program is subject to "extensive fraud controls."

Even so, the story highlights the significantly scrutiny mobile payments currently endure as consumer advocates look to establish firm security measures. Merchants looking to adopt a mobile payment platform are advised to take a serious look at providers that offer reputable fraud protections.