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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paper, plastic…or mobile?

In April, the Federal Trade Commission held a public workshop to examine the use of mobile payments in the marketplace and how this emerging technology impacts consumers. This event brought together consumer advocates, industry representatives, government regulators, technologists and academics to examine a wide range of issues, including the technology and business models used in mobile payments, the consumer protection issues raised and the experiences of other nations where mobile payments are more common. WirelessED just received comments filed by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), in connection with the earlier workshop. The NCLC's comments focused on core principles of safe mobile payment systems. While the devil's always in the details, WirelessED agrees the list constitutes a fair framework for consumer protections for mobile payments:
  1. Consumers should have the ability to affirmatively choose which payment system they use and should not be steered into products that do not fit their needs.
  2. Consumers must understand the cost and terms of their accounts.
  3. Consumers' funds must be safe in the case of insolvency of any party involved with holding the consumers' funds.
  4. Consumers need protection from errors, unauthorized charges and disputes.
  5. Consumers need ample, free and convenient access to account information and customer service, beyond information conveyed on the mobile device.
  6. Mobile payment systems must not have unfair fees or tricks and traps.
  7. It is essential that overdraft fees and embedded credit features be eliminated from asset accounts.
  8. Consumer privacy must be protected and mobile payment systems should not be used to throw consumers into the hands of predatory products.
Click here to read the full comments (PDF download). To see a list and download other comments filed after the workshop, click here.