The number of financial apps is on the rise with each passing day. Designers are thinking of new ways to make then convenient for the user and easy for businesses to transact.
I think that M-commerce is the direction the whole world will take in the coming years given its rapid popularity. I love the fact that I do not have to queue at a store in order to purchase an item as I have already paid for it. I get home and relax because I do not have a bunch of emails waiting for my attention, I already read them, then I easily monitor my spending with a few nifty personal applications on my smartphone.
How wonderful it is even when I am in another country to access my account, transact with full knowledge of the real time conversion rates and even update my personal financial statement whether am online or offline. Yes, I do have a financial statement and it makes me feel accomplished and like a marketable brand. I am literally a walking business. I highly treasure my smartphone because I know how stranded I would be without it.
However, I learnt some highly interesting information concerning mobile applications especially the financial ones that allow you to transact, that I thought highly useful. In my financial adventures, I got carried away with the ease and convenience of my phone and completely forgot the risks involved!
I recently learnt the risks involved with M-commerce and I am now a more cautious individual. As an avid M-commerce believer, it is only right to share the information that you may also protect yourself. If you have not joined the craze for financial apps this is no reason to shy away but even a better reason to join, as you will be making a well-informed decision.
1. The open Wi-Fi
The difference between mobile POS enabled by the various available applications, and other POS systems is that, whereas the latter use secure and individual networks, these mobile apps use an open network. Unlike the POS at a restaurant, they connect to the wider open network meaning that anyone in the vicinity with a laptop or another ‘smarter’ phone may be able to gain valuable data.
Do not pull your hair out yet, as it is not as bad as it sounds. Although the information is on an open network this does not mean that, anybody can log in and get your valuable bank account details and credit data. The information is accessible to a skilled hacker experienced in this particular field. Nonetheless, these are not extinct specimens and exist in your community. The risk is lowered but still existent.
2. Rooting devices
The firmware and the hardware can be corrupted. This may cause your smartphone to be rooted and give a third party access to information. Some of these mobile applications are not fully developed, and they carry information in an encrypted format. Again, only an experienced hacker can gain access to the information and in this case, they need to have the actual handset in their hands for them to do so.
3. The applications
The number of applications rising with each passing day is numerous, this begs the question as to how safe, and well tested they are. Some of them still have some hitches and you may encounter problems whilst using. The problem lies not majorly with the designer but the fact that the field of M-commerce and applications is still evolving and much more is yet to be discovered hence it is not yet 100% safe.
Is my information at great risk?
This must be the question nagging your mind and you are already wondering whether you shall use your application again. The answer is no and yes respectively. The best way to keep you safe is to ask at all times.
Before any transaction, be polite and ask the sales agent or whoever is in charge of receiving your credit card the following questions:
- Do they have a private Wi-Fi connection in the store and if not in the vicinity?
- What mobile payment applications are they using for the transaction?
If they have private connection as some stores do then you are safe. If not, look around and scan the environment. It is best to avoid transacting in very public spaces with potential for a hacker sitting somewhere with a computer. In addition, know what applications are approved by the PCI.
Article Contribution: Nick Thomas is a finance expert and loves using mobile apps for managing personal and business finances. His website debtconsolidation.com.au is a good source of information for those seeking help regarding debt, credit and finance advice.