In the past, the urge to anonymously surf the web has always had a somewhat negative connotation. Now, with new data and identity theft issues being revealed on an almost daily basis — Sony’s PSN outages being the latest — the idea of purchasing and paying online anonymously without providing any sensitive data is having an unsoiled renaissance.
Ecommerce has made its way into everyday life and established itself as a multibillion dollar industry. The comfort of shopping online while staying at home is unparalleled. But, of course, there is a downside. When purchasing something online, you have to provide data to complete the transaction. Normally this would be your name, address and credit card or bank account details. That’s fine and good so long as this data is only available to the respective merchant. But the Internet has taught one important lesson: Whenever there is data exchanged or stored, there is a chance for third parties to compromise it.
In order to prevent this from happening, consumers need to start employing payment solutions that enable them to quickly and easily make online purchases without requiring them to share copious amounts of confidential, identifying and financial data. The less personal information a consumer supplies, the less risk there is for the consumer to be affected by identity theft or fraudulent charges.
Removing data linked to a person’s name, bank account, SSN, etc., eliminates the risk of identity theft, making it virtually impossible for hackers to exploit it. But since cash payments — by far the most anonymous form of paying in terms of data required — do not work in ecommerce, and credit card and bank transfer payments require an awful lot of data, other payment methods need to be taken into account.
Convenience & Security
Mobile payments require buyers to provide the minimum amount of data. Mobile payments rely on consumers providing a phone number to complete a transaction — there’s no need to provide a name, address or other sensitive data. Hence they remove the majority of risks associated with identity theft. Transactions are carried out via text message and appear on the consumer’s phone bill.
In fact, mobile payments are an even more effective method when it comes to microtransactions (small charges, generally under $10). Why should consumers risk compromising personal data for a small transaction if there’s a more convenient way to pay that doesn’t require identifying info and credit card numbers? Mobile payments enable consumers to safely purchase even on websites where security might be of concern.
Mobile Data Isn’t Attractive to Hackers
Due to the absence of exploitable data, mobile payment providers and systems are rarely targeted by hacker attacks. Hackers would not bother trying to crack open databases that only provide mobile phone numbers. Phone numbers are essentially considered anonymous data since it is much more difficult to connect a number to a name, address or even bank account.
Even if a hacker decides to try his or her luck on such a database, he or she will realize that they are as well-guarded as any other database. If a hacker was to gain access, the risk of identity theft remains marginal. Mobile payments providers simply do not request that much data from their consumers. And the little data they have is forwarded to the respective carriers for further processing. Thus mobile payments pose the lowest security risk for all parties.
Consumers pay much closer attention to security features these days. By removing the majority of risk associated with a devastating security breach, consumers feel more confident in purchasing goods online via mobile. This ultimately results in superior sales figures for merchants. Most people know their phone numbers by heart as opposed to their credit card or bank account numbers, which have to be looked up every time and entered in a lengthy purchasing process.
Finally, mobile payments help reduce risk by requiring authorization for each and every transaction. Anytime you make a mobile payment, you must provide authorization — access to the phone itself to confirm the purchase. Making purchases via credit cards can easily be done by hackers even if they do not actually possess the physical card.
As the call for more secure payment methods grows louder, the ecommerce industry finds itself with a working solution right at hand. Mobile payments are least prone to data and identity theft compared to any other online payment method simply because they do not require linking consumers to bank accounts. They present a safer alternative for online retailers and providers while affording consumers peace of mind against identity theft.
Article via Mashable.