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Summary: ACCAN and CHOICE have teamed up to make sure consumers are protected when using m-commerce.

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Whether you're buying a coffee or paying the electricity bill the last thing you want to worry about is whether your financial details are safe or if payment will be processed accurately.

ACCAN has teamed up with CHOICE to look at how new ways of making payments using your smartphone or tablet can give you that peace of mind.

These mobile-commerce (or m-commerce) services include things like banking apps, purchases using an SMS message, payments made through a website, and payments made in a shop using a phone handset instead of a contactless credit or debit card.

Our position statement outlines the key consumer protection principles for m-commerce in the Australian market. For example, we want to make sure that consumers have:

    • Easy access to a complaints mechanism for all m-commerce services,
    • Excellent protection from fraudulent transactions even if the device is lost or stolen, and
    • Top notch privacy protection, especially where devices hold lots of personal information.

M-commerce has the potential to allow consumers to make purchases quickly and easily, wherever they are.

The principles we outline in our position statement should be met by m-commerce providers to ensure consumer confidence in these new payment systems.

Examples of m-commerce

    1. Mobile banking with ANZ's goMoney. ANZ's goMoney app is one of a number of m-banking apps available in Australia. It allows the user to carry out most of the standard banking functions, including bank transfers, payments using BPAY, and account management.

    2. Electronic transfers with Bump Pay. The Bump Pay app allows users to transfer funds to each other by physically bumping their smartphones together. The app detects the physical motion of the bump, and remote servers then determine which other phone felt the same bump. Payments are made using the PayPal online payment system.

    3. Retail point-of-sale and transfers with the Commonwealth Bank's "Kaching". The Commonwealth Bank's Kaching app works with a special iPhone case containing an NFC chip to allow the phone to function as a contactless card at EFTPOS machines.