Safer Mobile Payments? Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself


We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

There are many ways to pay using your mobile phone – different apps or programs, and different ways to fund the transactions. Given the complexity of the mobile payments marketplace, it’s no wonder that when we asked consumers for their mobile payment stories, many expressed concern:

What will happen if I lose my phone, anyone can shop and do what ever they please all through the convenience of your cell phone. That is very creepy!

– RW, Seattle

We understand the concerns surrounding the safety of mobile payments and we continue to push for policies that make every way to pay safe. Until our suggested reforms are in place, consumers can protect themselves by taking the following steps:

Protect Your Payments

  • If you can, link your mobile payments to a traditional credit or debit card, and avoid linking them to prepaid cards or to your phone bill;
  • Review your statements often and contact your credit or debit card issuer immediately if you notice errors or suspect fraud;
  • Complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here.
  • For more information, see CU’s mobile payments tip sheet here.

Protect Your Mobile Device

  • Secure your mobile device with a strong password;
  • Don’t download bootleg apps that might contain spyware or viruses;
  • Watch-out for unsolicited e-mails or texts seeking personal information;
  • Deal only with reputable merchants, service providers and charities;
  • For more on how to use mobile banking and payments safely, see the FDIC tips for consumers here.

Have you used your mobile device to make a purchase or donation? Share your story with us!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *