Increasingly, consumers are beginning to trust mobile payment options over run-of-the-mill credit and debit card transactions, but new research shows you might be putting your faith in the wrong hands.
Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2011 Consumer Payment Poll found that consumers believe paying for purchases by mobile phone is more secure than using plastic – by a margin of 4 to 1.
There’s no denying that there’s reason enough to worry about using cards to shop online, with credit card fraud and the risk of identity theft both topping the list. And more than half of the respondents in Javelin’s poll said they’ve abandoned online purchases at check-out due to these concerns.
But even though clear that banks aren’t completely perfect when it comes to protecting your identity, you shouldn’t toss out your plastic just yet.
Financial institutions offer a wide range of protections for consumer liability associated with credit and debit card fraud. On the other hand, a new report by Consumers Union reveals cell phone carrier policies haven’t quite caught up with rising tide of tablet and smartphone use yet.
“Consumers using mobile payments should get the same strong protections they currently enjoy when they make purchases with a credit card or debit card,” said Michelle Jun, senior attorney for Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “But we found that consumer rights can vary widely between wireless carriers and the protections carriers claim to provide are often nowhere to be found in customer contracts.”
The Union called out some of the largest mobile phone carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon included – in the nation last spring in an effort to ramp up their protection policies.
But months later, the carriers are still falling short of what consumers need, the group says.
Cell phone carriers offer limited protection for problems such as billing errors (most only give you 60 days to report an error) and carriers like AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile protect users from fraudulent charges made with their phones only after they’ve been reported stolen.
Banks offer a 10-day limit for any investigation regarding a fraudulent transaction for pre-paid card holders before issuing a refund. Mobile carriers don’t make any guarantees you’ll be refunded, Consumers Union says.
“As new mobile payment options become available, consumers are better off sticking to services linked to credit cards or debit cards, which come with strong protections required by law,” said Jun.
“If wireless carriers want consumers to have confidence in direct carrier billing programs, they should strengthen their contracts with the protections consumers need.”
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Ditch Your Credit Cards For Mobile Phone Payments Just Yet. (2011, December 19). Mandi Woodruff. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Ditch Your Credit Cards.