Mobile Wallet

A Mobile Wallet will need to be secured differently.

With all the new smartphones being launched this year, you’re probably hearing a lot more about terms such as Mobile Wallet and Near Field Communications (NFC). Sooner or later (bet on sooner) they’re sure to impact you directly.

The Mobile Wallet may eventually replace the contents of your oh so cool imported leather wallet. Instead, everything will be digitized and stored in your smartphone—credit cards, banking information, retail store cards, coupons, boarding passes, loyalty cards, movie tickets. Want to make a purchase? Just wave your phone and get on your way.

Here are the three current approaches you’ve probably heard the most about:

  1. Google Wallet. Allows you to store credit and debit cards on your Android phone and just tap the back of your phone on an NFC terminal at the point of sale. (More about NFC later.)
  2. Apple Passbook. Apple users with iOS6 devices can create a virtual wallet to hold their movie or sporting event tickets, store membership cards, boarding passes, hotel confirmations and more.
  3. Windows 8 phone users will also have NFC capability and tap-to-pay.

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What is NFC?

Near field communications is technology that allows close-proximity two-way communication between a mobile device and an NFC enabled payment terminal. Actual field implementation is still limited but mobile commerce is expected to increase over time.

How is all this connected to security and identity fraud?

The more personal information you have on your phone, the more secure it should be. According to the February 2012 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy & Research, smartphone users are 35% more likely to experience fraud than the average consumer. That’s huge. And if you’re already 35% more likely to experience fraud because of your smartphone, what happens when you store even more financial information on it?

Begin with these steps to make your smartphone more secure.

  • Create an access password for your phone
  • Log out of open apps
  • Be careful about downloading free apps from app stores you’re not familiar with, they could contain malware
  • Don’t post personal information on social sites
  • Monitor your credit card use and promptly check your statements

A mobile wallet may become a real convenience for you, but take some extra precautions so it isn’t equally convenient for an identity thief.

Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.

Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.

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