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Security vs. convenience

Week 08, 2012

When introducing mobile payment services, either as mobile money services, or as Near Field Communication technology, the whole industry is pushing for customer adoption. The business model being complex, a special attention has been given to user-friendliness. The result is obviously shown in all end-user surveys about NFC: customers are happy with the convenience and merchants are asking for simplicity in order to boost throughput in their shops. Customers and merchants alike are confident in technology, and consider the responsibility for security lies in the hands of the system promoters, mobile network operators and financial institutions.

As a consequence, some NFC application developers have preferred convenience to security, leading to the issues recently discovered in Google Wallet, that have triggered reactions all over the press (cf. Focus section). The matter has been efficiently handled by Google, and solutions have been promptly put in place, restoring users confidence.

NFC technology, like all other implementation of the secure transaction basics, includes all the necessary security features. Sometimes, some implementations bypass some aspects of complex security issues, leading to security issues as the Google Wallet one.

The secure transactions industry is in a permanent movement to anticipate the evolution of attacks and hackers. The industry has been delivering security for decades. The balance is still to be found between the convenience brought by mobile payments and the security inherent to financial matters.

Thierry Spanjaard

Chief Editor

Smart Insights