CIO Asia talked to Jarkko Sevanto, Head of Mobile, Visa APCEMEA, about security concerns in mobile commerce, in particular, with the widening adoption of the NFC standard among mobile devices.
Q: Security has always been a hot topic in electronic payments. How much progress have we made to ensure that mobile eCommerce transactions are foolproof?
Jarkko Sevanto: The same security principles should be in place whether a consumer is buying from an eCommerce site via a PC or a mobile device. Over the past few years, online security has undergone vast improvements with services such as Verified by Visa, which enables safer shopping online via a two-step identification regardless of device. We also have tools to help banks that issue cards determine the level of risk involved in a transaction.
For face-to-face transactions at point of sale that use an NFC-enabled mobile device such as a smartphone to make payment, the security principles are the same as when a contactless card is used, as it works on the same infrastructure. Each transaction has a unique cryptogram based on strong algorithms. In addition, the capabilities inherent in a mobile device, such as user interface and network connectivity, can be utilised to provide additional layers of security.
NFC has earned the label as a "technology looking for a solution". Has it reached the pivotal point where device makers as well as merchants will be embracing wholeheartedly?
The next natural step for contactless payments is the ability to pay with an NFC-enabled phone and we are seeing moves towards this with the global alliance between Visa and Samsung announced earlier this year. This alliance means that new Samsung devices will be Visa payWave-enabled and that consumers will be able to buy goods or services by waving their device within close range of contactless readers—provided their bank offers this service. As it works on the same principle as contactless card payments at the moment, many retailers already have the capability to take payments in-store.
However, growth in mobile payments will not solely rely on NFC but also on a varied ecosystem that includes person-to-person payments and digital wallets. Gartner predicts that mobile payments will rise by 44 percent this year due to a combination of these factors.
What areas is Visa working on to ensure smooth, secured, and convenient customer experience in mobile commerce?
We recently entered into a strategic alliance with Samsung to enable contactless NFC payments via Samsung smartphones which, in terms of payment infrastructure, work with the same contactless terminals as Visa payWave does at the moment. We are also investing in new ways to pay for goods online such as our V.me digital wallet, which allows consumers to safely and securely store card details without handing over account details when shopping on the internet.
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