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Look how mobile is driving commerce – globally

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There have been quite a few stories recently highlighting the importance that mobile plays in commerce nowadays. Whether research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research showing that sales through the mobile channel on the UK’s high streets now account for every £1 in £10 spent, the news that Oktoberfest drinkers in Munich will be able to use mobile payments instead of having to grapple for loose cash, or the proof in the pudding with San Francisco-based mobile payments start-up Square being valued $3.25 billion in its latest fundraising.

So, it’s hard to not take mobile payments and the impact of the mobile channel in commerce seriously. If anything, it’s to be applauded how much the industry has progressed.

Yet, while apps and technological developments are making it ever easier to transact securely using a mobile device in the developed world, mobile remittance services have been quietly fulfilling the needs of many across the world, including in emerging markets.

Western Union Money Transfer® and MoneyGram are two example of money transfer organizations providing international remittances to families and communities in many developing regions. Having recently certified Gemalto’s technology as part of a Mobile Vendor Program to give people more options to send and receive money across borders with their mobile phone, they can now reach even more agents in hundreds of countries and territories to expand their money transfer services.

All good and well – we live in money-driven times. But what about the security of these mobile payments and transactions? Not only are we suffering ever higher levels of cybercrime and hacking as recent high profile security breaches have shown, but we lack the basic security functions on our devices. Indeed, a report by Juniper Research shows that 95% of sophisticated devices such as smartphones and tablets lack security software to protect against malware, fraud and device theft.

Taking responsibility for our personal devices should be high up on our priority list (and even higher on our employer’s). When it comes to money transfers, however, the onus is also on the service provider, which is why it’s encouraging to see Western Union and MoneyGram getting Gemalto on board with their solution.

The mobile commerce and payments space is a truly exciting one with plenty of activity and development, but it’s vital we don’t forget that security should go hand in hand with convenience when it comes to money.

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