Mobile Payments-Boom or Bust

It has been said that the new mobile payment method is like the old American West, growing at a breakneck pace with few boundaries. I compare this new payment method to another piece of history- the California or Alaskan Gold Rush. During that time people from all over the world were rushing to find their fortunes. Now companies from all over the world are rushing to increase their sales and profits by using this new payment method. Unfortunately I believe only a select few will find their fortunes and not suffer major data and financial losses.

Unfortunately, then like now, only a few companies will take the time to take the proper steps to reach their goal and protect their investment. History has taught us the lessons of the perils faced by those early dreamers. Only recently have the stories of the potential dangers of accepting mobile payment started to be told. Today almost all newspapers and magazines around the world are writing something about data losses, fraud, and identity theft but little about mobile payment problems.

Like the men of the old west were blinded by the color of gold, so are today’s companies blinded by the new potential payments markets and their potential profits. Companies are forging ahead without truly looking at the losses associated with current payment methods. Like the gold miners of yester-year, the rush for companies to get their presence in the newest payment method and start accepting the newest methods is blinding the parties to the dangers and costs involved. What happens when the companies say “we now accept”? Have they really thought it all through? Just like a hundred plus years ago, a mistake can be extremely costly.

Credit cards and now mobile payments have brought the start of a new way of life for the people of the planet Earth. They have made the world a smaller place to live in. It has brought out the best some people and companies have to offer and also helped countless millions obtain goods and services that 15 years ago would have been impossible for most to obtain. It has also brought out the worst in some. The thieves’ numbers, who steal from people and companies worldwide, have grown at an incredible rate and the new technology and knowledge needed to properly track these parties has not.

Ask any historian. Those who don’t learn history the first time around are doomed to repeat it. Why? Because knowing what happened in the past will help us understand why things are the way they are now. The thieves rely on companies to continue to use the same techniques and procedures that have been developed to help protect them. Protecting mobile payments using past methods of data and fraud protection may easily result in an ever increasing number of losses and problems for companies and consumers alike.

Al Cameron