Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Experts from the public and private sector assemble to map out the future of secure mobile payments

On the 21st November 2008: In a jointly hosted event by The Mobile Data Association (MDA) and the Digital Communications Knowledge Transfer Network (DCKTN) the future success of secure mobile payments has been mapped out. The event highlighted an urgent need to help educate end users, to simplify the payments process and a call for collaboration between handset manufactures, mobile operators and the banking sector. The next phase will see the MDA set out a mobile payments security blueprint in the form of a white paper later in 2008.

The success of the operator lead initiative Payforit, which is primarily used for payment of downloadable content, has been a catalyst for other mobile payment applications and services in the UK. Payforit will continue to play an important role in the mobile industry, but the MDA’s focus is on a much wider framework that encompasses near-field communications, messaging-based payments and securing services beyond WAP sessions.

The workshop represents a first step in an industry initiative which brought together government, in the form of the DCKTN, the Metropolitan Police Authority and private sector business leaders from mobile operators, aggregators, application developers, security specialists and the banking and finance sector.

The headline issues discussed were:

A need for security and application developers to be able to overcome device complexity, interoperability and certification issues, seen as one of the biggest blockers to establishing a recognised standard for secure mobile payments

Fraud and malicious attacks on the mobile device and user data. Payment enabled mobile phones must not become a digital and physical crime driver

Consumers play an essential part of the success of mobile payments, if the experience is poor adoption will be low

To improve the consumer experience, a key driver will be the creation of a standard application framework. This will help to create a consistent and simple experience which will ultimately stimulate demand

The mobile industry must learn from the experiences of the financial and banking industry, many mistakes and challenges have been overcome in the past three years from e-banking

What is a mobile payment? A clear definition is required which solidifies and delineates a mobile payment. Without this, regulation and control becomes very difficult

Steve Reynolds, Chairman, The Mobile Data Association, summarised the learning from the day: “Electronic payment transactions have been with us for some time and most people are now comfortable with purchasing and paying for goods or services over the Internet. We are now entering the era of payments via the mobile phone, laptop computers and other handheld devices connected by wireless means. As with all emerging and new technologies, there are potential risks from scams and unscrupulous activities. However, the mobile industry has learnt its lessons from past experiences and as a result we are taking no chances with mobile payments, ensuring that the users of this type of technology will be well protected.”

Philip Hargrave, CEO of the Digital Communications Knowledge Transfer Network said “We are delighted to have partnered with the Mobile Data Association to host this important workshop. Mobile payments and the security surrounding them are the next battle ground for the mobile industry. The event successfully brought together representatives from the mobile operator, equipment supplier, banking, payment and policing sectors. Across these groups the potential of mobile digital payment technology was clear, and the issues involved in ensuring that the highest standards of security are employed to safeguard both the payments made and the people making them are paramount. There was a real buzz of excitement about what could be achieved, coupled with a determination to ensure that the additional issues surrounding the security of wireless devices was addressed.”

Colin Whittaker, Head of Security, The Payments Council said: “The event was a timely and welcome initiative to consider the implications of security in relation to the future of mobile payments. The initial discussions and the commonality of views on the issues were especially encouraging. We look forward to working more closely with the participants on addressing and resolving the issues as we develop the Payment Council’s agenda on mobile payments.”

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