Mobile payments could be safer than buying online

mobile on desk

Buying goods through mobile phones could be safer than shopping online using a PC or laptop.

So claims Douglas Orr, chief executive of Cogenta, a retail intelligence company.

He said that done properly, mobile payments could be safer than buying online, as a phone could work as a physical token which locks purchasing data.

This differed to shopping on a PC or laptop, where you might use the same account across different computers.

Cogenta was working with mobile payments company Paythru for its platform Sccope, a price comparison service where users could search the best prices and purchase goods through their phones.

"The infrastructure that we're using from Paythru locks down the transaction, and it requires a number of security checks to move to another handset," Orr said.

"The expectation is that you have one phone which will be your shopping buddy. There is smart software which identifies the handset to the payment solution, in addition to the username and password."

"That's a level of security you usually don't get online," he added.

Even if a user lost their phone, the transactional information isn't held on the handset, but through back-end systems. "So you're not actually storing the username and password on your handset," said Orr.

Mobile phones also don't face as many threats when it comes to malware, which is a big problem for online shoppers using laptops and PCs.

However, Orr did say it would take some time before consumers accepted that they should shop on their phones instead of on the web, and that they could do it safely.

But he did say: "I think m-commerce could be one of the big stories of 2010, just like e-commerce was ten years ago."

"Except now the big retailers recognise that you can't wait five years before getting involved," he added.