Prodigious spam and the National Do Not Call Registry serve as constant reminders of unscrupulous data mining practices best not repeated. Whether mobile devices fall prey to similar data transgressions, time will tell. The controls established in the groundwork being laid out today could ultimately determine the outcome.
Right now mobile commerce is still in nascent stage adoption. "We're all used to a very pristine environment on our phones, where we only get the information that we want," said Greg Wilfahrt, Chief Mobility and Marketing Officer at AP Technology. "It's not the same bombardment of spam that we currently have in our email boxes, so any intrusion into that is not viewed very well by mobile phone users."
That said, data monetization has become big business. "There's this big fight over who owns the data," said Richard Love, Chief Executive Officer at AP Technology. "My concern is that if we're not good stewards of the data we're going to get to the point where the government is going to step in and we're going to have the equivalent of a do-not-call list for who can use the data or even collect the data."
He noted that the whole purpose of bringing mobile into play was to create a better user experience. "Let's not fight over who owns the data because everybody's business model is based on mining and selling the data," Love said. "That has an end to it."
Love believes consumers should decide how data is purposed. A better business model for mobile would be one that permits users to opt-in, at will, to push mobile interactions, including payments. At the mobile app level, consumers would have the option to white list, black list or override data sharing, depending on their preferences at any point in time.
With the capacity to deliver rich experiences in real-time, perhaps it's time to remodel other aspects of payments as well, Love suggested. "Should we be building everything based upon replacing plastic or should we be thinking broader?" Love stated. "Let's not just build the rails of mobile based upon the PAN number. Let's base it upon a transaction that is beneficial to all parties."
Payment environments where mobile users can push payments to merchants to verify as opposed to merchants pulling payments from customer accounts is one such example. "Maybe in our transactions we can digitally share information so that I'm not carrying around receipts in my wallet and going to my credit card company to figure out what my payment was and try to reconcile that way," Love said.
Mobile payment security could evolve well beyond what we see today. "Let's think of how mobile is really a solution for all parties, and let's increase the security by not just a one-time token, but going a little bit further," Love said. In the not-to-distant future real-time automated clearing house, fully electronic checks, virtual currencies and other alternative forms of payment could all fit side-by-side in mobile wallets.
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