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14
Nov
2011

Something else to tap with your NFC phone, but why?

POSTED BY Global Administrator
The news that Intel and Mastercard have teamed up to enable NFC payments on Ultrabooks has some interesting ramifications.

The first is, as the title suggests, the number of “things” you can “tap” is increasing everyday.

But there’s obviously more to it than that. Personally, I wasn’t really expecting that I would ever need to tap my phone on my ultrabook to pay for something (even if I had one).  An ultrabook, by the way is essentially a thinner, lightweight laptop. Everything I have come to understand about the use of an NFC phone for payments requires me to tap my phone on a POS terminal.  Why tap my phone to make a payment on an ultrabook?  Surely making payments online is something that has been in common use for sometime; many people are comfortable about entering credit card details onto a trusted website like Amazon etc.  So why the need to tap your phone on your ultrabook?

Well, the reason, it seems, is security concerns.  The article says “Intel’s IPT enables consumers to use two-factor authentication and hardware-based display protection, which provides increased online security against malware.”  So we are still worried about online payment security, whether it be hacking our internet accesses remotely or from within our device by malware. And what is the solution? The mobile phone (or your contactless card).  It seems “online” is still not secure enough for payments after all.

That’s an interesting twist to a much debated topic which we are asked about frequently at Juniper Research.  How do we know that paying via mobile is safe?  Behind that question there’s the assumption that the mobile phone is much more vulnerable to hacking or loss than the PC, so mobile payments won’t really take-off because of user, and indeed merchant, security concerns. Now this development from Mastercard and Intel seems to turn the argument round the other way and it’s a point we have made several times. Actually, paying by mobile phone with your phone being your credit card, is actually more secure than paying via the internet.  This is not only because the phone is your personal device.  It’s also because it is more secure than your fixed internet access (which could be hacked), unknown malware on your ultrabook posing as you - and even your credit card (which could be stolen or copied with your CVV on the back and used for a CNP transaction).  It’s better than all of those …

So, the mobile phone is now being seen as a trusted device that can actually secure your online transactions - now that’s a turnaround!