FTC Mobile Payments Workshop on April 26, 2012

Josh Wright —  29 January 2012

The Federal Trade Commission conference announcement is below; note that public comments on the date of the conference.  This is an important space and should attract some excellent speakers.  The topics suggest a greater focus on consumer protection than competition issues.  Here is the announcement:

The Federal Trade Commission will host a workshop on April 26, 2012, to examine the use of mobile payments in the marketplace and how this emerging technology impacts consumers. This event will bring together consumer advocates, industry representatives, government regulators, technologists, and academics to examine a wide range of issues, including the technology and business models used in mobile payments, the consumer protection issues raised, and the experiences of other nations where mobile payments are more common. The workshop will be free and open to the public.

Topics may include:

  • What different technologies are used to make mobile payments and how are the technologies funded (e.g., credit card, debit card, phone bill, prepaid card, gift card, etc.)?
  • Which technologies are being used currently in the United States, and which are likely to be used in the future?
  • What are the risks of financial losses related to mobile payments as compared to other forms of payment? What recourse do consumers have if they receive fraudulent, unauthorized, and inaccurate charges? Do consumers understand these risks? Do consumers receive disclosures about these risks and any legal protections they might have?
  • When a consumer uses a mobile payment service, what information is collected, by whom, and for what purpose? Are these data collection practices disclosed to consumers? Is the data protected?
  • How have mobile payment technologies been implemented in other countries, and with what success? What, if any, consumer protection issues have they faced, and how have they dealt with them?
  • What steps should government and industry members take to protect consumers who use mobile payment services?

To aid in preparation for the workshop, FTC staff welcomes comments from the public, including original research, surveys and academic papers. Electronic comments can be made at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/mobilepayments. Paper comments should be mailed or delivered to: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Room H-113 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580.

The workshop is free and open to the public; it will be held at the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.