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Data privacy, security top concerns for FTC


When it comes to mobile financial services, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is concerned about a number of different factors, including the security and privacy of user data. As technology continues to evolve, so too do the means that consumers use to pay for everyday products and services. Alternatively, the modes that retailers and restaurants use to process these transactions are also changing, which demonstrates the need to continually find ways to protect sensitive customer information.

The FTC highlights the general concern it has with data security and privacy in a recent report, noting that the evolution in payment technology, albeit convenient and streamlined, may be causing gaps in the protective infrastructure of digital transactions and processing. According to its comments, the FTC uses tools such as workshops, reports, surveys, testimonies, law enforcement and consumer and business education forums to help protect consumers’ personal and financial information. Since 1970, the FTC has been safeguarding consumer privacy, but the rapid growth of mobile technology has caused the federal agency to build security measures into its legislation, and since 2010, companies are recommended to take the following steps in protecting consumer data:

  • Ensure privacy at each step of product development
  • Provide consumers with different choices at key decision-making moments or shortly before the point of transaction
  • Improve transparency with regards to data collection and its business use

Security also a main concern
In addition to protecting the privacy of certain customer data, the FTC is also taking mobile payments processing very seriously. Mobile security is addressed in a similar manner to data privacy - through enforcement, consumer and business education and policy initiatives, industry website PYMNTS noted, citing the FTC report. The agency also released guidance directed to merchants using mobile devices to handle sensitive information and outlined what best practices are to keep this information safe from potential breaches.

Merchants operating in the mobile arena can also use mobile payment solutions to ensure their customers’ data remains safe and private. These systems are used at the point of sale and allow retailers, restaurants and other small businesses to safely process consumer transactions in both a quick and efficient manner. Verified payment systems not only give merchants the flexibility they need to quickly process payments in a secure way, but also the insight into their customers’ buying trends. Since mobile payment solutions can safely store customer data, merchants have the ability to better understand their clientele going forward. 


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