Pay at Your Own Risk? How to Make Every Way to Pay Safe for Mobile Payments

Banking & Finance Law Review, Forthcoming

16 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2011 Last revised: 15 May 2011

Date Written: March 15, 2011


Consumers today have a bewildering number of choices when it comes to paying for goods and services. They can pay via cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards linked to bank accounts, general-use prepaid cards, gift cards and mobile phones. Many of these payment methods – particularly prepaid cards and payments via mobile phone – are recent phenomena, and do not fit cleanly into the existing legal categories used in consumer protection laws.

As mobile phones have become more ubiquitous, the marketplace has produced many ways to pay using mobile phones, including charges directly to prepaid phone deposits and phone bills. As these technologies and practices have developed, however, U.S. laws have failed to catch up. This article recommends a few simple steps to harmonize existing laws and ensure that all consumers making mobile payments have guaranteed consumer protections.

Keywords: mobile phone, mobile payment, payments, payments law, consumer protection

JEL Classification: K23, K29, K39

Suggested Citation

Martindale, Suzanne and Hillebrand, Gail, Pay at Your Own Risk? How to Make Every Way to Pay Safe for Mobile Payments (March 15, 2011). Banking & Finance Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Suzanne Martindale (Contact Author)

Consumers Union ( email )

1535 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
United States
(415) 431-6747 (Phone)
(415) 431-0906 (Fax)


No contact information is available for Gail Hillebrand

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