Hawaii small businesses use mobile payment devices, how safe and secure are they?

Local News

Thousands of Hawaii shoppers are expected to “shop local” this weekend, but if you’re paying by credit card, make sure your information is safe before the card is swiped.

With the beginning of the 30th annual Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall happening Friday, customers will notice most of the vendors are embracing technical developments by using tiny little devices attached to their smartphones or tablets to process payments.

We spoke with Tim Caminos of Supergeeks and he tells us mobile payments like these are safe and secure.

“Four, five years ago, when it was a newer technology, most of these companies back then admitted the data was not encrypted,” said Caminos. “But as technology progressed, this way of paying has become a lot safer.”

Small business owner Gary Corwin appreciates the convenience. “It makes it real easy. You can either use a tablet or just your phone. We basically plug it in.”

Another small business owner, Kehaulani Nelson, added that “There’s a small fee charged with each transaction. But it’s really nominal, with the convenience it provides.

“None of the credit card information is shown to us,” she said. “It goes to a third-party server. We don’t keep any of the credit card information.”

But what if you still have some doubts? Are there things you should be asking small business vendors to ensure your personal information is safe? Caminos said you can ask:

  • Which credit card process are you using, such as familiar names like Paypal?
  • Is your smartphone or table properly updated? Is it “jailbroken,” or using unauthorized software to bypass Digital Rights Management restrictions?

“If someone has a jailbroken device, maybe that’s a red flag,” Caminos said. “If they don’t have internet connection and they need data stored, that’s a red flag.”

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