In June, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched an inquiry into the opportunities and challenges associated with the use of mobile financial services.
As part of the inquiry, the agency is exploring how mobile technologies affect “unbanked” and underserved consumers with limited access to traditional financial services.
The CFPB is seeking information about:
• Whether using mobile devices creates new options in financial services and money management for underserved or underbanked consumers, and whether these options are cheaper than traditional financial services;
• How mobile products and services can help consumers manage their money in real time, as they make spending decisions;
• The types of customer/member service or technical assistance available to consumers when they use mobile products, especially if the mobile channel is the only point of access to their financial services provider; and
• The kind of information companies are collecting on consumers, whether it’s being disclosed to consumers, and how that information is being used for low-income consumers in particular. The CFPB also is examining whether data breaches are more common on mobile devices than on desktop or laptop computers.
The agency also published tips on how consumers can better protect themselves when using their mobile devices for financial transactions. These tips for using a smartphone or tablet more safely include:
• Using only secure websites, apps, and hardware;
• Protecting personal information with personal identification numbers or strong, unidentifiable passwords;
• Reporting losses or thefts to financial institutions; and
• Closing browsers and clearing browsing history when finished with financial transactions.