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Consumer Reports enters the security and privacy ratings game

Three women sit around a restaurant table looking at their smart phones.
Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

For the first time ever, Consumer Reports has issued rankings based on the security and privacy of products and services, with an initial focus on peer-to-peer payment services such as Apple Pay and Venmo.

Why it matters: The nonprofit is one of the most trusted sources of information on products and companies in the United States and it intends these rankings to hold developers "more accountable."

Context:

  • It’s just the beginning — Consumer Reports will be pushing out ratings of other internet-connected products. That includes internet protocol (IP) cameras and possibly smart televisions, which it began evaluating back in February this year, a spokesperson told Axios.
  • These reviews will likely serve as a guide to about 15 million monthly unique visitors to ConsumerReports.org and 6 million members, according to traffic and circulation numbers shared with Axios.
  • By the numbers: Apple Pay was highest on data privacy, with an overall score of 76. Apple Pay, Cash App (Square), and Facebook P2P Payments in Messenger all received the highest ratings of any app ranked when it comes to data security. Other apps ranked included Venmo and Zelle.

How it works: Consumer Reports had a group of national privacy and security experts develop criteria by which to measure products.

What to watch: Usage patterns following the first round of security privacy ratings on peer-to-peer payment services.

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