On December 1, 2015, the House Energy and Commerce Committee (Committee) Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade (Subcommittee) convened a hearing titled “The Disrupter Series: Mobile Payments.” At the hearing, members and panelists discussed various applications of mobile payment technology, as well as security practices and data protection methods for mobile payments, such as multifactor authentication, encryption, and tokenization.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) highlighted the widespread adoption of mobile payment technology and urged companies to continue to leverage a range of technologies to provide an easy and secure user experience for consumers. Subcommittee Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) discussed the growing popularity of mobile payment technology and raised concerns about the lack of consumer protection and adequate security practices in the industry. Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) noted that mobile payments are a welcome alternative for consumers who have limited access to banking and financial institutions.

In their questioning, members focused on security, data collection, and adoption of mobile payment technology. Subcommittee Ranking Member Schakowsky inquired about the type of data that companies collect from mobile payment transactions. An industry representative responded that data collection varies widely across companies and noted that best practices for data security are still developing in the mobile payments industry. Committee Ranking Member Pallone inquired about protections for consumers who use mobile payments without a connection to a financial institution. A representative from academia suggested that consumers without access to financial institutions should have equal protection against fraudulent or criminal activities in the mobile payment space. Subcommittee Chairman Burgess, Subcommittee Ranking Member Schakowsky, and Representative Tony Cardenas (R-CA) inquired about how mobile payment technology can serve under-banked populations. An industry representative stated that under-banked communities stand to gain from the widespread adoption of mobile payment technology, especially in rural and densely populated urban areas, as mobile payment technology increases access to financial services.