banking, mobile, NFC, UK

NFC + Mobile + Biometrics = The Future of Payments

British Banking Association reports on UK’s banking ‘revolution’ (NFC World)

“The revolution in the way we spend, move and manage our money is not over,” the report says. “Banks are looking at a range of new technologies to make banking even easier and more flexible. Biometric data could make accounts safer and security features more straight forward for legitimate transactions.

“Near field technology could end the need for taking your card out of your wallet or purse to make a purchase. Banks will strive to innovate because they know it’s a way to win new customers.”

The combination of mobile handheld device hardware (i.e. the perfect token), biometric ID verification, and NFC provides the tools for building extremely powerful ID management regimes.

Banks appear to be realizing that systems like these could make for happier customers and pose a real threat to the credit card/debit card/clearing house/merchant bank model of card-based payments provided by organizations such as Visa and Mastercard.

It’s possible that banks that successfully negotiate this opportunity could begin to take back some of the 3% of credit card transaction value (a massive amount of money) collected by credit card companies, but in order to do that banks will have to figure out how to make an extremely secure mobile app that that lives on a device that has a massive attack surface.

Elsewhere in the news, Norwegian start-up Zwipe is trying to solve this riddle with dedicated hardware. As compared to networked mobile devices such as smartphones, the Zwipe device has a tiny attack surface in that users can’t download viruses to it via cellular signals, wifi or SMS. But in the name of security, the Zwipe device lacks some of the connectivity attributes that make smart devices so attractive for true e-commerce transactions rather than “point-of-sale only” transactions.

No matter how all this shakes out, this is a trillion dollar riddle and biometrics are a near certainty to factor in the solution.

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