The practice of mCommerce (or M-commerce) is using a mobile phone to make purchases. Like credit card transactions, your card/device can be either present or not present.
Mobile payment has been around for years in numerous forms for purchases such as downloading music, ringtones and various other services, and it is now gaining traction for retail purchases in the U.S. But its implementation in the U.S. is a bit slower due to a lack of standardization of payment methods and the overall security concerns of mCommerce.
Some consumers in the U.S. have had bad experiences with criminal hacking and data breaches and so are concerned about their security. As a result, they are waiting for the various handset manufacturers (in other words, those who make the phones), mobile carriers (those who provide mobile service) and third-party technology providers (those who make the technology that facilitates financial transactions) to agree on standardization that will lead to more secure transactions.
Regardless, EcommerceTimes.com reports in its holiday retail edition that Foresee, a customer experience analytics firm, saw the Mobile Satisfaction Index jump two points over Christmas 2011 to a score of 78 on a 100-point scale.
When it comes to individual companies, Amazon took the number-one spot with a score of 85. Apple and QVC were next with scores of 83, with NewEgg and Victoria’s Secret coming in at 80 in the report. Those at the bottom of the list of 25 mobile retailers include Shop NBC with a score of 73, and Sears, RueLaLa, Overstock and Gilt.com, which each earned a 74 in the ratings.
The study shows that the mobile platform is maturing faster than the traditional web. But this will also mean criminals are moving to mobile as an attack vector.
To stay safe while mobile shopping:
- Keep mobile security software current. The latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Automate software updates. Many software programs can update automatically to defend against known risks. If this is an available option, be sure to turn it on.
- Use a private VPN. Hotspot Shield, which is free to download, creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop, iPhone, Android or tablet and any internet gateway. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers, hackers and ISPs from viewing your web browsing activities, instant messages, downloads, credit card information or anything else you send over the network. Hotspot Shield is available for iPhone/iPad and Android devices