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Driving Force Behind Mobile Connect Initiative

Increased pressure is being exerted in different parts of the industry to create a more secure and a more private environment for a range of mobile activities.

Whether it is women in developing economies who need to be certain that their communication is kept private, especially in relation to their husband and male relatives, or the 100 million users, mainly in developing economies, which rely heavily on mobile payments; there are now 16 countries that have more citizens with mobile bank accounts than the traditional ones.

But also in developed economies there are a range of applications that could be supported by Mobile ID. People here have to struggle with, on average, 26 online names and 5 different passwords. This could be simplified with the assistance of a secure mobile ID. Furthermore, the success of m-payment in Africa and Asia has also inspired entrepreneurs in the western world to start looking at new innovative mobile payment applications, and the most prominent development here is to ‘store’ credit and bank cards on the mobile phone and use the NFC (wave) technology to allow the smartphone to be used for payments.

Governments in many countries are also investigating how they can securely e-government delivery services—including financial payments—to their citizens.

These developments are the driving force behind the Mobile Connect initiative of the GSMA, a new digital standard for authentication. With the rapid increase in use of the mobile phone for so many different applications, the majority of users (83%) are concerned about the sharing of their personal information.

The aim of Mobile Connect is to create a convenient and secure universal log-on solution with privacy protection. This will establish the trust needed for customers to use mobile technologies for these personal services.

The initiative is already supported by a range of mobile operators and service providers such as banks, insurance companies and online merchants and healthcare providers.

Several financial services companies are already designing these services. They used an IC chip SIM card that can be included in the smartphone. This card can be personalised for the users regarding how payments can be made through simple NFC (wave) technologies. Different services can be programmed for different levels of security as required by the customer. Depending on the security required, when the customer ‘waves’ the phone a payment will be made automatically or the system comes back with a request for a pin code.

A range of credit and bank cards can be included in the chip, making the need for carrying large numbers of cards obsolete. Most of the services currently under development are nationally based (Norway, Switzerland) as banks and card systems are often of a more local nature. However MasterCard is also developing international systems using this technology.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

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