Mobile 2 Go Blog: Cut the Confusion on Data Security

Acquirer advice: Define your topic, focus on your goals

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Angel Abcede Mobile 2 Go Blog (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Technology)

ATLANTA --When technological advances cause confusion and uncertainty, convenience store retailers may want to take a time out, breathe and calmly think about what their businesses really need.

Jumbled amid concerns about data security, loyalty opportunities and, of course, the enormous potential of mobile, cooler heads must prevail. At least that's what I got from a recent discussion with Chris Francis, vice president of market development for WorldPay US Inc., Atlanta.

I reached out to Chris to better understand data security in a mobile world and almost immediately, we began talking about confusion that exists in the marketplace:

Q: I've been hearing concerns about data security as the industry grapples with the concept of mobile--everything from marketing to payment. As an acquirer and transaction processor, much of that falls into your arena. What are your thoughts?

A: That's a loaded question right now. But it's important to take a step back. Yes, you're correct in that security with mobile devices is going to be paramount, especially with Android-style [devices] and some iPads. … Users can add applications--especially with Android, but it's not unheard of in Apple devices--where it's possible the application they've loaded may have malware.

But just in the way people spoke of loyalty 15 years ago, everyone is saying they want it, but there are so many flavors. Mobile is in the same space. You can mean couponing, push marketing, location-based messaging, things that have nothing to do with payment. A merchant could be talking about a mobile device with an EMV [Europay MasterCard Visa] reader with Bluetooth, or mobile could mean a consumer device with the ability to pay for a transaction. We have to first define what we're talking about.

Q: As a payment processor, can you talk about payments and security with mobile?

A: Let's start with a consumer using a mobile phone to pay at the store. With the exception of Google Wallet and Isis, which have had challenges with their networks trying to get to banks, most mobile wallets are a "card not present" transaction, which get charged a higher rate. It makes it expensive for the retailer. Thinking of convenience stores, it's a non-starter. Fuel retailers are making such a small margin on gasoline, it wouldn't be worth it. But that said, Visa, MasterCard and MCX [Merchant Customer Exchange, Dallas] are working on strategies to enable mobile wallets to provide enough [data] to make it a card-present transaction.


Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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