Mobile phone uptake highlights need for PCI DSS compliance

New research has confirmed that people around the world are buying into the smartphone craze in greater numbers than ever before.

Around three quarters of the global population now have access to a mobile phone, according to a new report from World Bank and infoDev entitled Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile.

"Mobile communications offer major opportunities to advance human and economic development – from providing basic access to health information to making cash payments, spurring job creation, and stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes," said Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice president for sustainable development in a press release date July 17.

"The challenge now is to enable people, businesses, and governments in developing countries to develop their own locally-relevant mobile applications so they can take full advantage of these opportunities."

Just over a decade ago, in the year 2000, global mobile subscriptions numbered less than one billion. Today that number is over six billion, with the majority of that growth coming from developing countries.

According to Tim Kelly, lead ICT policy specialist at the World Bank, this increase in mobile uptake can be attributed to a range of factors, including the availability of cheaper technology and more powerful networks.

"The mobile revolution is right at the start of its growth curve: mobile devices are becoming cheaper and more powerful while networks are doubling in bandwidth roughly every 18 months and expanding into rural areas," said Mr Kelly.

As mobile phone uptake increases around the world, enterprising retailers are capitalising on this trend by providing new and innovative ways for consumers to shop via their cellular devices.

While this uptake of technology is taking the way we shop to exciting new frontiers, it also brings with it a variety of risks and dangers concerning information theft.

That is why, if you are involved in a business that accepts credit or debit card payments, now is a good time to consider how compliant you are with the current Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

PCI DSS is a set of rules and regulations set down by several of the world's leading payment card service providers in order to ensure that customer information is safely managed by retailers.

It applies to any business which processes credit or debit card information, no matter how big or small they may be, and covers both traditional brick and mortar stores as well as retailers operating in the online environment.

The World Bank report also found that more than 30 billion mobile applications were downloaded in 2011, an indication of how much cell phone users value convenience and innovative technology.

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