Are Mobile Payments the Solution to Credit Card Breaches?
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Data breaches are becoming more common as scammers are getting more creative and focused in their abilities to obtain more personal data from consumers.
The latest breaches to large retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus should serve as a reminder to consumers that more secure technology is needed to prevent more fraud from occurring.
Consumers should make more of their purchases with their smartphones, because mobile transactions do not transmit sensitive information and personal information is not stored on the phone, said Greg Gresh, North American CEO of ZNAP, a mobile marketing and e-commerce solutions provider based in Hong Kong.
Mobile transactions are similar to making purchases via PayPal, because the merchant does not have any personal information about the consumer and eliminates the need for any sensitive data that a criminal can obtain. When consumers make purchases online through their laptops or tablets or at a retailer and swipe their card at a point of sale machine, sensitive data is transferred at point of sale machines, he said.
"People have to understand their smartphones that are devices that can be used to make even safer transactions," Gresh said. "People have to wake up and understand that swipe technology is no longer a secure way to make a transaction. They need to move to something that is more secure. Once they start getting comfortable to making their payment on their phone, you will see massive adoption."
Additional data breaches are likely to occur since many retailers have more basic software to prevent fraud from occurring, he said.
"It is also naïve to think that it is limited to Target and Neiman Marcus," Gresh said. "If Target can be penetrated, there are far less sophisticated retailers. This is widespread and will get uglier."
Since mobile shopping can be more convenient, consumers need to be cautious how they make purchases, said Josh Alexander, co-founder and CEO of Toopher, an Austin, Texas-based company with an invisible, location-based multifactor authentication and authorization software tool that works with your smartphone.
Consumers should avoid storing their credit card information on their phone and should never reuse passwords across online merchants, he said.
Shoppers should use an additional way to identify themselves, such as adding software like Toopher to their account. Consumers should never enter any personal information into a site or app to which they did not navigate.
"Online shopping is often the most convenient way to shop," Alexander said. "That convenience comes at a price - online accounts secured only with a password are ripe for fraudster take over."
Many companies lack sophisticated software to protect consumers and rely on using a "basic kind of credit card encryption built in," said Roman Gonzalez, senior security architect for Toopher. The encryption is shown by the green box in the left corner of your URL bar.