Determining how to regulate mobile payment technology seems to be a rather challenging task for United States legislators and regulators. They are struggling to define a set of regulations thanks to the technology still being in the early stages and the uncertain direction in which it will develop. Imagine trying to set guidelines on how to use a new piece of technology when the technology itself is rapidly advancing and changing. Yet every day, hackers are attempting to access mobile devices looking to steal valuable information that the average consumer has innocently assumed was safe to store on their device. So, the race is on. Regulators need to determine guidelines that are both relevant to the current mobile payment technology and maintain relevance and effectiveness as the technology advances.
“New technologies may be designed in ways that may not fall within existing regulatory frameworks,” said Marla Blow, Assistant Director for Card and Payment Markets at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Existing rules may not have anticipated new developments enabled by modern technology and may prove inadequate for addressing emerging concerns.”
According to an article put out by MobilePaymentsToday.com, “The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) was established to police financial services and ‘restrict unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices.’” The CRPB was established just two years ago with the signing of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
To make matters even more complicated, mobile payment regulations involve three industries: telecommunications, banking and web services. Each industry has its own set of regulations and finding a way for all three to come together to reach a blended set of regulations for mobile payments will be a complex job and numerous issues are undoubtedly going to arise.
Even with the obstacles of a new and advancing technology, the new regulating bureau and the multiple industries impacted, the CFPB is still working diligently to determine the proper set of regulations. The CFPB also must reconsider existing regulations and how those will be affected as mobile payment technology advances and changes the environment.
It is likely that most merchants are using mobile payments with little or no knowledge of any regulations which is why getting a standard set of regulations in place is vital. However, what may be more difficult for the CFPB is setting regulations that will maintain effectiveness with how mobile payment technology changes and develops.