August 5, 2010, 5:43 PM

Latest knock against Apple overlooks key to m-commerce

Payment information is not entered, therefore it is not cached.

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People just love to bash Apple Inc. I guess that comes with success. The latest is concern over a security matter with the iPhone.

The iPhone caches everything entered through its keyboard for as long as a year before it’s deleted. This helps the mobile device automatically suggest words when typing to speed data input. It’s a very helpful tool. End of story.

Well, I guess that’s not the end of the story. The concern is that if you enter your credit card number it will be cached and as a result become a potential target for theft. This concern overlooks one major fact: Most retailers in mobile today either do not require you to enter any personally identifiable information or are moving to such a system.

Here’s how mobile checkout is shaking out. I place my DVD into the Shopping Cart. I press Checkout. I enter my e-commerce account user name and password. I confirm that my default payment, shipping and billing information be used and press Buy. I’m done. No payment card or other personal information was entered into the mobile device.

First-time customers can create an account via mobile, and then yes, the payment card information is being tapped into the keyboard and cached. The number of people willing to go through the entire process of setting up an account with a retailer on a mobile device I believe is extraordinarily small. But yes, their card information is cached.

The point is, to be successful in mobile commerce, you can’t have a checkout experience that requires a shopper to enter payment, shipping and billing information. It’s too much work. People expect an optimized experience on mobile, and that includes an optimized checkout. And retailers know this, which is why they are creating checkout systems that don’t require personal information.

In the rush to mobile, and there certainly is a rush on, retailers should not overlook security. And that’s a big reason, in addition to speeding checkout to increase conversion, why retailers are enabling checkout with just a couple of swipes of the finger.

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