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Zapp Drops Bombshell: Mobile Shopping Safer Than Online Shopping

February 14, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

When online shopping first emerged, there was a lot of concern–and not without reason.

The idea of simply sending a credit card number to a store with no physical address gave a lot of people pause, and in the early days, this was actually quite the reasonable response.

Of course, as we all know now, security has long since been beefed up to the point where online shopping, with a few basic precautions, is almost as safe as brick-and-mortar shopping. But now, a new report from mobile payment provider Zapp is offering up a disconcerting look at the market, saying that mobile payments are currently safer than even online shopping.

Zapp notes that, when using a mobile phone, people are better able to “…carry out secure transactions…” than if said people were buying from a standard e-commerce site.

Essentially, as Zapp company spokesman David Emsworth pointed out, the mobile payments ecosystem is growing and changing in such a way that, should a customer be using a handset as a digital wallet, it’s just as safe and secure as any other payment platform.

But even Emsworth here admits that there’s a bit of fudging to that projection; while indeed, mobile payments haven’t been afflicted with major security issues, rendering them every bit as safe as their online alternatives and even, on some levels, more so, the reason behind that is because there aren’t that many mobile payments users as yet.

That means a lower-value target for potential thieves and other miscreants, which means less time spent on figuring out ways to crack systems and, as such, fewer successful attempts. As mobile payment platforms become more mainstream, as is likely inevitable at this stage, so too will the numbers of attempts rise.

As any sales rep will tell you, raise the number of total attempts and, all else being equal, you raise the likelihood of successful attempts as well. When that happens, of course, then mobile payments will be less safe than they are today, but by like token, so too will security necessarily improve to face off against the new threat.

So indeed, for right now, the combination of obscurity and standing on the shoulders of giants (a lot of mobile payments’ security comes from online payments, and many recommendations still apply) are working out quite well for mobile payments users.

While this may not be the case much longer, the basics are still in play: security-minded merchants and consumers need to keep their antivirus systems up to date, watch the mail, monitor the accounts, and stay wary of following suspicious  links.