How your wallet (and your bank) are going mobile

Last updated: 19 March 2014

It must be conference season at the moment; following our Parisian mobile event, it was the turn of London as Gemalto UK held its 5th annual innovation day at the Museum of London in the heart of the City. This time our internal and external speakers, including Barclays, looked to the near future and how our digital security solutions could manifest themselves in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, given the location at the heart of the UK’s financial district, much of the day was turned to payments and in particular the impact of the mobile on financial services. Gemalto has a long presence in the UK and nowadays we manufacture 1 in every 2 bank card in the country according to Howard Berg, MD of Gemalto UK.

The positive results of chip and pin are clear to see with recent announcements from the UK Cards Association of another year of falling fraud. Online banking fraud is also down thanks to increased security for home banking such as chip and pin readers that have replaced old fashioned passwords.

Mobile banking is a high priority for financial services organizations especially with the arrival of the Internet generation, as highlighted in a recent report by EFMA & McKinsey. Mobile services are now moving away from a stripped down version of the banks’ web sites towards an app-based approach. For banks the main challenges will be ensuring the need for minimal technical customization between handsets while also offering personalized offers to customers for cross and upsell opportunities.

The next wave of innovations will be around mobile NFC and contactless technologies in general. London is ideally positioned to massively deploy these technologies thanks to an installed base of readers and payment terminals, just look in the capitals many sandwich shops (e.g. Pret à Manger), and a population that knows and likes contactless thanks to the success of the Tube’s Oyster card. Next year’s Olympics have also provided a boost with plans to roll-out payment terminals to the capital’s 25,000 black cabs (Taxis) while visitors to the Olympic Park will be able to pay for food and drink with contactless cards or their NFC mobile.

Slow handset deployments are quoted by the naysayers but recent announcements from Orange, T-Mobile and Barclaycard along with the big advertising push from Visa and MasterCard shows that most of the key actors are moving forward. If you take the Tube you can’t help but be bombarded by Visa Contactless ads as you ride the escalators. Juniper predict NFC payments to be worth 50bn in 2014 while our deployments in France have shown 90% customer satisfaction with the service so watch this space. What do you think? Will 2012 be the year of commercial roll-outs NFC? Have banks understood the mobile experience?

On a completely different subject, some of you may remember my rant on the lack of working automatic border gates at Gatwick. Well you’ll be pleased to hear they were working last week and I smugly sped past the queues of passengers waiting at immigration, thanks to my ePassport.