Can bank collaboration safeguard m-payments and profit from The Netherland’s insatiable thirst for convenience?

Security3 minutes readDec 2nd, 2010

Recently several banks in the Netherlands have joined forces in a bid to fast-track the ability for customers to use mobile devices to make point of sale payments for items such as meals or retail purchases, and to make everyday banking transactions. The banks say it’s technically possible and that the commercial case is compelling. But what about security concerns?

There’s no question that banks will save money as they will not have to give out as many ATM cards and they expect the range and number of mobile payments possible to grow rapidly.  Mobile phone companies will also see their revenue grow as paying with a mobile device will cost the user minutes. We shall have to wait and see if small and medium-sized enterprises are ready to invest in the infrastructure needed to facilitate mobile payments, but there’s little doubt that the speed and convenience of this method will appeal to businesses and consumers alike.

But is the Dutch consumer ready to put convenience ahead of their fears about identity theft and bank card fraud? Based on the latest findings from the Unisys Security Index, the answer is yes.  The Netherlands is the most relaxed nation in Europe when it comes to security concerns, with 57% of consumers choosing the convenience of online banking and shopping over privacy concerns.

So if we accept the demand for mobile payments, how can we protect our businesses and customers against cybercrime?  The key to this question is whether PIN codes can survive the transition. While the PIN code has proved to be a robust safeguard when used to verify debit card transactions, the hassle and time taken to key a pin code into a mobile phone appears likely to be too much for today’s hasty consumers.

So what method could be used to replace the PIN? Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed software for mobile phones that can track your facial features in real-time. Eventually it will be able to tell who the user is, where they are looking and even how they are feeling. The method is believed to be unrivalled for speed and accuracy and could lead to facial recognition replacing passwords and PIN numbers to log into internet sites from a mobile phone.

We strongly believe that over the next few years, there will be a range of mobile applications that allow for secure authentication without the hassle of using a PIN.  After all – a PIN is something you must remember, and forget quickly. No doubt these developments will unleash the commercial benefits of making mobile payment a reality and will help this enterprising new consortium to solve this particular conundrum.

Tags-   Financial security Mobile devices Unisys Security Index