Building a Secure and Trustworthy Mobile Payments Ecosystem

The mobile payments landscape is undergoing a dynamic transformation, driven by the growing popularity of Direct Carrier Billing (DCB). This convenient payment method is propelling the growth of the mobile value-added services (mVAS) market and promoting financial inclusion. However, ensuring a secure and trustworthy ecosystem depends on a crucial factor: collaboration across the entire value chain. 

This idea was the key takeaway from a recent webinar hosted by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), with panellists Thomas Tinker, Head of Account Management at MCP Insight, alongside Rahima Ouadfel, VP of Growth at Smadex, our industry partners. The webinar discussed our joint whitepaper, Transparency and Brand Safe Advertising, and underscored our collective responsibility as stakeholders to safeguard consumers from fraud, and our industry from its repercussions. 

The Need for Education and Collaboration 

As Tinker highlighted, DCB’s projected growth trajectory, reaching over $95 billion by 2025/26, necessitates a proactive approach to combatting fraud. Here at MCP, we play a pivotal role in this, not only through reactive measures assisted by our compliance and anti-fraud platforms, but also by leveraging our experience and data to anticipate market trends and prevent disruptions. 

To this end, education emerges as a critical factor. Mobile carriers prioritise quality products and services, recognising their impact on consumer satisfaction and the overall health of the digital advertising ecosystem. However, a disparity persists – services with lower quality content often dominate due to aggressive advertising budgets, and sometimes non-compliant tactics. This imbalance can be addressed, according to Tinker, by educating the value chain, and especially carriers, about these issues and potentially establishing more stringent approval criteria to ensure low quality content doesn’t dominate the market. Collaboration is key. 

Transparency: Understanding Traffic Sources 

Transparency remains an ongoing challenge, with hidden and unaccounted-for traffic sources posing a significant risk. While progress has been made, particularly with the increasing prominence of Google traffic, there’s still considerable room for improvement. It should also be noted that Google traffic isn’t immune from fraud or compliance issues.

Carriers play a critical role in safeguarding the mobile payments ecosystem. However, many lack complete visibility into the traffic sources used by merchants to subscribe users. Or are unaware of the extent of the problem and how it operates. This lack of transparency creates vulnerabilities that fraudsters can exploit. 

At MCP Insight, we believe facilitating interactions between carriers and those involved in buying and managing traffic is crucial. By promoting open communication and deeper collaboration, we can create a more transparent ecosystem. This will allow carriers to understand the challenges associated with hidden traffic and the importance of clear traffic source identification. Ultimately, this collaborative approach will empower all stakeholders to work towards a more secure and trustworthy mobile payments landscape. 

As Thomas Tinker emphasises, “Effective communication across the entire value chain is crucial for enhancing transparency.” By facilitating interactions between carriers, advertisers, and traffic managers, a deeper understanding of challenges and a commitment to shared goals can be fostered. 

Moving Forward: A United Front Against Fraud 

While more collaboration is needed, industry bodies like MEF and partnerships between key players, such as Smadex and MPC, are paving the way to a more transparent future. Our joint whitepaper (download it here) exemplifies this, delving deeper into these critical issues and proposing actionable solutions.  

Beyond education, we actively collaborate with Smadex to help them enhance traffic source transparency, develop robust anti-fraud strategies, and advocate for industry-wide best practices. This collaborative approach, coupled with continuous innovation and awareness, is the key to building a future-proof mobile payments ecosystem and sustainable revenue from mVAS/DCB. 

As Tinker asserts, “Wider collaboration between agencies and companies like MCP is essential … Failure to address ad fraud ultimately leads to market shutdowns.” Building partnerships across the value chain, promoting open communication, and leveraging new technologies like AI are all crucial steps towards a safer and more trustworthy mobile payments ecosystem. 

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered in this article. 

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