Why does this not surprise me?

Holiday shoppers are increasingly pulling out their phones instead of their debit cards when it comes time to pay for a purchase, but what risks are they exposing themselves to when they do that?

If you are charging items to your phone bill, you have limited protection, according to a new study by Consumers Union, which is telling consumers not to use pay-by-phone programs that pass charges through the phone company. The advocacy group has been urging mobile carriers to recognize the responsibilities that come with being a financial intermediary.

While the largest carriers assert they already provide adequate protection, the nonprofit advocacy group asserts that what the carriers say and what’s in writing aren’t the same, and that purchase protection policies vary widely. The new study appears on its defendyourdollars.org site.



  1. Mac Guy says:

    Now, are they talking about NFC-based solutions, such as Google Wallet? Or are they referring to other third-party systems?

  2. scandihoovian says:

    Trusting a phone carrier to handle everyday transactions is as dumb as giving John Corzine a second chance.

  3. Fletch says:

    These are the same douche-bags that will turn in all your call records to the government at the tip of a hat. And now you want to add financial information to that? Are you effing crazy?

    • ReadyKilowatt says:

      You do realize that every withdraw of more than $10,000 is reported to the federal government by your bank, right?

      You do realize that the USA PATRIOT act has all sorts of requirements for reporting suspicious banking transactions in hopes of finding the terrorists, no matter where they roam?

      You do realize that you bank produces federal tax information (on federal forms) on any interest bearing account that is required to be included in your income tax filing, right?

      And people get pissed off over Facebook automagically tagging them in pictures? Give me a break! We lost our privacy a long, long time ago.

  4. orchidcup says:

    I can’t even trust my phone carrier to post my voicemails on the same day I receive them.

    This kind of thing is equivalent to listening to music over a cell phone.

    Listening to music over the phone is the dumbest thing I have ever heard until now.

    I wonder what people did before there were cell phones?

  5. orchidcup says:

    I guess if you lose your cell phone, it would be no different than losing your debit card?

    No thanks.

  6. Travis Owens says:

    It’s not the transaction you allow that you need to worry about, it’s the rogue ones you didn’t approve. Those are the ones you have to fight, where as existing debit/CCs will simply deny the transaction and require the seller to prove they are legit.

    So swiping your phone may not be that bad, unless you factor in the fact that your phone’s info is stored by the seller and might be stolen and abused.

    That second scenario is the more concerning one.

  7. john smith says:

    its looks un-secure to me.never trust your cell phone carrier for that kind of thing.

    http://debitcardfee.blogspot.com/

  8. spsffan says:

    Ummmm, RE the picture. If you don’t have enough cash to buy a Coke, you have no business having a cell phone in the first place.

    And the cell cos can’t even seem to make the phones work as proper phones, so why would people even consider using the phone for purchases? Oh, I forgot. We live in a society that elected George W. Bush, twice, and thinks rap is music!

  9. msbpodcast says:

    I use cash.

    Would I trust businesses to display the correct price and to charge me the correct price? I think not!

    When they stop accepting cash because they want to jack-up the price twice a second, I’ll be the one standing at a counter with my dollar bill laughing my ass off at some dweeb yuppie fool who’ll pay fuck knows what for a stick of gum.

    The machines, I trust.

    The people running or owning the machines? Fuck you!

  10. JimD says:

    With the phone companies billing computers seeming to have PROGRAMMED IN “BILLING ERRORS”, charging stuff to your phone is probably not a good idea !!! YOU will need a computer
    to keep things under control and to challenge the “random” billing errors introduced by the Phone Companies own “Error Generators” !!! You have been warned !!!

  11. The0ne says:

    There is a reason why the financial industry is so tight on security with transaction from you check or credit card. I’ve been in the industry for quite some years and I have to say people using their phones and relying on phone company are just playing by luck right now.

    If I was a much younger, like I was in college, I would have carried out possible theft ideas from stupid people like this. I see people, especially at airports, that have their barcode and info up while doing nothing. How easy can it be to capture/scan this? How easy is it to intercept a wireless connection (there’s a annual convention in Las Vegas on this fyi)?

    I’m not entirely sure why these people are so comfortable with their information on their phone? Is it because they think it’s in the palm of their hands that it’s ok?

  12. Somebody_Else says:

    If I was Visa I’d be setting up tons of ‘consumer advocacy’ sites like this…


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