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Caution Urged Over Smartphone Cashless Payment Apps
February 16, 2012
Barclay’s new mobile application, called Pingit, enables users to transfer cash for free to anyone with a mobile number in the United Kingdom and Barclay account. The growing popularity of such apps is raising concerns about phishing attacks and other forms of fraud.
Anything related to mobile payments now is in the spotlight as Google is continuing to get its Wallet application back on track after a research security firm found a flaw on the product’s backend.
Barclay’s Pingit app is PIN protected but after registering the product, a user can just go to the phone’s address book and select who they want to receive money. That could be a problem if the phone is stolen. Some also are concerned some online stores don’t verify app downloads are safe.
Tony Neate, from Getsafeonline.org, explained: "Someone could decide to create a new app and call it something similar to the Barclays app and put it on a site that's uncontrolled, un-monitored.
"So making sure you've got the right app from the right place [and] that it's genuine is critical."
Barclays insists the app is safe.
"I think there's just the same risk as with cash," says Barclays' Elizabeth Holloway. "If you lose the money from your wallet you're not going to get that back.
"But we have all the pin protections and other back up stuff, so if you lose your money on this or any other system you'll get it back."
But as consumers march towards a more cashless society, questions about security will continue. The PCI Security Council recently announced mobile as a priority, which was a long time coming One of the biggest challenges facing all forms of mobile payments is a set of basic standards and best practices relating to security. PCI should help to keep app developers to high standards.
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