The BBC today reported the announcement of the first UK ‘mobile wallet’, allowing people to pay for things using their mobile phone.
It sounds very convenient. I use my mobile phone for so many other things these days – why not as an alternative to cash? And on the face of it, isn’t this just an extension of the same concept behind the Oyster Card? For those not familiar with the Oyster Card, it’s an alternative to buying tickets to travel across London. You use a card instead: you put credit on the card at your convenience and the cost of the trip is debited automatically when you travel.
There’s a key difference of course. If I lose my Oyster Card my loss is limited to the credit I’ve put on the card. The consequences could be far more serious if it’s my smartphone, since someone could get access to my entire online identity. If my phone is my wallet too, it becomes even more of a target – to real-world criminals as well as cybercriminals.
We know from experience that convenience typically wins out over security. Keep watching.